Berke Administration Announces Members Of Pension Task Force

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Berke administration on Thursday announced the members of the newly-formed Pension Task Force, charged with finding a consensus to reform the Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund. 

In a letter sent to the City Council, Pension Board, City firefighters and police officers and organizations representing the public safety employees, Travis McDonough, chief of staff and counselor to Mayor Berke, listed the members of the Task Force and thanked the recipients for their input in the formation of the group.

The Task Force includes 18 members. Ten are active or retired firefighters and police officers, including Police Chief Bobby Dodd, Fire Chief Lamar Flint, and two members of the Pension Board. The remaining eight members are community leaders.

The panel includes retired police officer Jim Appleberry, David Brooks of the fire department, Stephanie Crowe of CapitalMark Bank, Fred Decosimo of Decosimo and Company, attorney Kurt Faires, Tripp Farmer, Fraternal Order of Police President Toby Hewitt, Lee Lee of Lee Smith Inc., Phillip McClain of the fire department, retired police officer Ken Neblette, attorney Chantelle Roberson, firefighter union president Jack Thompson, IBPO president Tim Tomisek and Ben Vance of Unum

“I created the task force to have meaningful, productive discussions to build a consensus on how the police and fire pension fund should be reformed,” said Mayor Berke. “Ultimately, we must have a pension plan that does three things - attracts public safety employees and encourages them to have long careers with the city; meets our obligations to our officers and firefighters; and uses taxpayer dollars responsibly so we can fund public safety initiatives today.”

The city of Chattanooga’s contribution to the fund has risen steadily in recent years, he said. In 2006, the city’s contribution was $6.5 million. In 2013, the city’s contribution was $12.3 million. Mayor Berke’s 2014 budget contributes $14.4 million to the pension fund. The fund is underfunded by at least $150 million, he said.

“I look forward to working with members of the Task Force and participating in these important discussions about our Pension Plan and the impact possible changes will have on the Fund and its members,” said Terry Knowles, president of the Chattanooga Fire & Police Pension Fund. “It’s my hope that this Task Force can work together in a collaborative effort and find a shared solution that addresses the City’s concerns while protecting this important retirement benefit for Firefighters, Police Officers and their families.”

The Pension Task Force is slated to hold its first meeting on Sept. 9. All meetings will be open to the public.

 


City To Carry Out Green Infrastructure Demonstration Project In Highland Park

The city is planning a green infrastructure demonstration project in Highland Park, including a make-over of Anderson Avenue. Thomas Brothers Construction Company has the contract for the $1.9 million project. Chris Palmer of Jacobs Engineering said it is a required project under the city's Consent Decree ordered by the EPA related to sewage overflows. He said it will include ... (click for more)

City Council To Revisit Short-Term Vacation Rentals Issue

The City Council will revisit the short-term vacation rental issue it shot down last October, but not until after the runoff election. City Attorney Wade Hinton said a new version is being prepared for consideration in late April. He said certain areas of town would be "carved out" for rentals where the owner occupies the same residence. Another new wrinkle would be allowing ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oh Yes, I Loved West

One of my most beloved friends died early Saturday morning at the age of 67. Then again, West Oehmig’s only brother – King – died a couple of years ago at 63 so it wasn’t by happenstance I remembered Abraham Lincoln’s famous line: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Here are two brothers who lived larger than any other pair I can ... (click for more)

Red Bank Stays Unbeaten With Romp Over Hixson

Mandi Munn has been around a lot of Red Bank softball in her life, both as a player and now as the head coach for the Lionettes, but she probably hasn’t been involved with many games like the one her team played at home Tuesday afternoon. Facing the Hixson Lady Wildcats in a District 6-AA contest, the Lionettes more than batted around in three of their four at-bats and they took ... (click for more)

Bradley Holds Off Ooltewah 3-2 In District 5-3A Play

(Story will be updated) Bradley Central’s Logan Newberry shut down Ooltewah for five innings on Tuesday, and was working with a 3-0 lead going into the sixth inning. The Owls rallied for two sixth-inning runs to make things interesting. Then Newberry turned the game over to the Bears’ right-handed reliever Colton Cross. Ooltewah put the tying run at third base ... (click for more)