City Council Told That Fire And Police Pension To Cost $14.4 Million This Year; Consultants Hired To Study Fund

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The City Council was told Tuesday that the fire and police pension fund will cost $14.4 million in the upcoming budget.

Travis McDonough, chief of staff to Mayor Andy Berke, said that amount is up $2.1 million from the previous year.

He said if reforms are not taken "it will be up $1 million the year after that, and the year after that, and on and on."

"It is time to address the issue squarely on," he said.

The city is hiring consultants out of Philadelphia to help bring changes to the fund. Public Financial Management will be paid $90,500, plus expenses.

Mr. McDonough said the same group recently helped the city of Lexington, Ky., reduce its unfunded pension liabilities by 45 percent. 

He said Mayor Berke and his staff have been holding numerous meetings on the pension issue, including numerous sessions with the Fire and Police Pension Board.

He said there is agreement that changes need to be made that will continue to attract fire and police personnel to have long careers with the city, while at the same time "being responsible to the taxpayers."

Mr. McDonough said members of a task force on the issue will be announced soon. He said it will include current and retired fire and police personnel as well as community members.


Terry Knowles, president of the Fire and Police Pension board, said, “While this was not our preferred method to address the City’s concerns with our Fund, the Board looks forward to working with the Task Force and participating in these important discussions about our Plan and the impact possible changes will have on Police Officers, Firefighters and their families. 

"The Board has asked for greater representation on the Task Force to ensure this process is a collaborative effort that operates in an open, transparent and fair manner rather than one with a predefined outcome. I strongly believe this is the right position to have, especially given how city administrators have already indicated a fundamental bias against certain features of the Plan, including the DROP, cost-of-living adjustment and 25-year retirement.”



County Property Taxes Are Due Feb. 28; Trustee's Office Announces Extended Hours

County Trustee Bill Hullander is reminding taxpayers that Feb. 28, will be the last day to pay their 2016 property taxes without interest and penalty.  The regular office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. As an added convenience for the taxpayer, the courthouse office and the Preservation Drive office will be open on Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., ... (click for more)

Attorneys Drop Off Dyer, Brennan Case, Leaving Them To Represent Themselves In Federal Court On Investor Scam Case

Attorneys for two Chattanooga men who were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with defrauding a large number of investors have dropped off their case, saying they have only been paid a limited amount and the pair say they have no more funds. Magistrate Judge Susan Lee approved the requests by attorney Jerry Summers of Chattanooga and attorney Frank Lightmas of ... (click for more)

Judge Doug Meyer Lived A Full Life Helping Many

I was sadden to learn of the death of Judge Doug Meyer.  Judge Meyer retired from the Criminal Court bench here in 2006.  Prior to that he had been the Chattanooga city judge for several years.  As a young attorney I tried many cases in front of Judge Meyer.  Also while I was awaiting my case to be tried, I would observe him on the bench.  Judge Meyer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Illegals Cost Us Billions

We learned over the weekend that John Kelly, our new Secretary of Homeland Security, has just prepared two strongly-worded memos that could greatly enhance federal authorities to detain and/or deport illegal immigrants both inside the United States and those caught at our borders. All rational United States citizens know we have a horrible problem with illegals – in 2010 the annual ... (click for more)

MVP Howard Leads Bradley To Seventh Straight District 5-3A Tourney Title

(Story will be updated) East Hamilton was in trouble against Bradley Central at halftime. Then the top-ranked and unbeaten Bearettes landed a sledgehammer blow in the third period and routed the Lady Hurricanes 81-40 to capture their seventh straight District 5-3A tournament championship Monday night at Soddy-Daisy High School. Bradley Central (29-0) outscored East ... (click for more)

Moc Golfers 2-Under At Magnolia Grove Crossings

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team started its spring slate with two solid rounds. They started with a 286 and closed the 36-hole day with a 288. That’s good for a 2-under 574 at Magnolia Grove Crossings Course.   The two par or better 18s are the sixth and seventh of the season. All six were recorded over the last seven rounds. That puts the Mocs in fifth two strokes ... (click for more)