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.

 


Authorities Searching For Man Who Escaped From Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute

Dustin Adams, 26,  walked away from a court ordered evaluation at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute. Officials from the Institute reported him missing at approximately  7:37 p.m .  Hamilton County Sheriff’s Corrections officers signed Adams over to the Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute on Tuesday. Adams was not in the custody of the HCSO at ... (click for more)

Congress Sends President First State Department Authorization In 14 Years

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,  on Saturd ay announced that for the first time  in 14 years , a State Department authorization bill will be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law. The Senate unanimously approved   S.1635   on Saturday. It is legislation referred to the Senate earlier this week from the ... (click for more)

New School Funding Ideas

After reading the article “County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding,” I could not help but think about how helpful it would be to have the millions of taxpayer dollars given the owners of Walnut Common apartments to build some new schools.   In case you did not know, since 2008 our elected officials have given away millions in taxpayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: John Glenn’s ‘Hero’

When John Glenn became the first man to orbit earth, the timing was perfect. I was 13 years old at the time, in need of a hero, and I latched on to the astronaut tighter than a tick. All of us boys knew he’d flown 150 missions in fighters in World War II and Korea and, believe me, he was “The Right Stuff” long before the great movie about the Mercy 7 daredevils came out about 30 ... (click for more)

Cleveland Shocks Bradley To Win Cleveland Duals

CLEVELAND – There have been a lot of positive and memorable experiences for the Cleveland Blue Raider wrestling team in recent years, but they’ll have a tough time topping the one they had in their own gym Saturday. Hosting the annual Cleveland Duals and certainly a team considered one of the pre-tournament favorites, the Blue Raiders beat three of the top four teams in the state, ... (click for more)

Heights Rallies For 72-67 Victory Over Athlete Institute

Kentucky signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a team-high 26 points Saturday as Hamilton Heights rallied for a hard-fought 72-67 victory against Athlete Institute of Canada in the Buckeye Elite Showcase in Portsmouth, Ohio. The Hawks (7-2) built a 19-16 first-quarter lead, but fell behind 40-32 at halftime and still trailed 58-49 going into the fourth period at Portsmouth ... (click for more)