Fire And Police Pension Officials Up In Arms Over Latest Berke Pension Task Force "Scenario"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Officials of the Chattanooga Fire and Police Fund are up in arms over the latest "scenario" from the Berke administration on changes to cut the cost of the pension program.

Chris Willmore, president of the Pension Board, said, "If this goes in, fire and police from all ranks will up and quit, including those who are nowhere near their retirement age."

He said the board earlier submitted its own cost-cutting plan. He said it would bring savings of over $126 million.

Mr. Willmore said fire and police are willing to make some concessions, "but, my goodness, not this dramatic. Not something that is so out in leftfield. I shudder at this."

He said the proposal said the change would cripple fire and police hiring. "Nobody would want to come work for the city."

Mr. Willmore said the change would amount to a five percent pay cut for fire and police, plus provide reduced retirement benefits.

He added, "The benefits are not worth what you would have to pay. It's like paying for a Cadillac and getting a Nova."

Frank Hamilton, pension fund administrator, said the latest task force figures "are not comparable anywhere in the region."  

The proposal was shown during a morning pension board member by Fire Capt. David Brooks, who is on the task force.

A number of those at the meeting snapped shots of the sheet on their cell phones and posted it on Facebook.

Fire and Police have set up their own Facebook page on the issue, which has already brought 41 retirements this year.

The change would change the retirement age to 58 or after 32 years of service.

There would be no cost of living adjustment until age 62, then it would be limited to one percent.



Bradley County SPCA Board Addresses Allegations Of Unanswered Calls

During a Monday afternoon Bradley County Commission meeting, a representative from the sheriff's department said that there were 266 emergency calls unanswered by the SPCA regarding animals. Later Monday evening, the SPCA Board addressed the allegations. SPCA Board President Ed Elkins said, "No one from the SPCA Board had heard about this." President Elkins also pointed ... (click for more)

Bradley County Commission Weighs Using ICC Building Codes

Bradley County Commissioner Charlotte Peak urged the commission to think before possibly voting to opt out of using state approved ICC building codes. She said, "If we opt out, we might as well kiss all of these grants goodbye that we've ever applied for." She also said not adopting state codes would make Bradley County ineligible for FEMA assistance and many future grants. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet!

Just moments before Florida would seal a football 10-9 victory over Tennessee in early October, the student section in Neyland Stadium stooped to a new low when it vociferously chanted, “F*** you, Florida! F*** you, Florida!” It was shocking, a loud and vulgar display of all that sportsmanship isn’t, and served as a great embarrassment to Knoxville and the university. Jimmy Cheek, ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wastes No Time Shifting Attention To Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – L ittle time had passed following Tennessee's 34-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night before the challenge that lies ahead this week crossed the mind of the UT staff. In past years, a loss of that type could have had a lasting impact on the psyche of the team. But  Tennessee coach Butch Jones   still sees his team progressing, both mentally ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)