Fire And Police Pension Changes Were Fair

Sunday, January 12, 2014

 The changes on the Chattanooga Fire & Police Pension Consensus Recommendation by the Task Force made on Jan. 8 was a good decision. I agree with most of it due to the fact that the pension is 63 percent funded. 

According to the Task Force and the Fire & Police Pension Board, the losses are a result of the 2008 stock market crash which affected a lot of the pensions in the United States. I got this information by going to the pension board meetings and the task force meetings by asking questions and hearing what was said at the meetings. 

The following things I liked were: Officers and firefighters getting killed in the line of duty their beneficiaries getting 100 percent and not the current 68.75 percent. Elderly beneficiaries getting $750 a month and not the current $500. The vested members of both department still being able to retire at 25 years as I did. The ones on the drop with 24 years still being able to get the current drop if they stay for three more years. 

I agree with the contribution being raised for employees of both departments to help keep the pension solvent. I don't agree with new employees having to work until they are 55 years of age or 30 years especially for firefighters who have to go through the yearly physical fitness test which is very hard for a firefighter to do in their late 40's. A police officer can work until they are 55 years of age, but when you get past 50 years of age and you are working on the street you can get injured much easier than when you were in your 30's or 40's. 

What I am saying being a firefighter or a police officer is a young person's job and you have to stay in shape to finish your career. The changing of the age is also a possible means to keep the pension more solvent over the course of the years. I like the third party actuary review of the drop every five years as this would help keep the pension solvent. 

One thing that I did not like was the change in our 3 percent cost of living raise which affects me and about 700 plus retirees. I wish the task force would have gone with the pension board's recommendation of basing the Cola on the current stock market. The recommendation now for the Cola is based on banding on the amount of two percent to 1.5 percent and one percent for an overall Cola of 1.5 percent next year and the Cola will not be compounded as it was in past years. According to the Task Force, until the plan is 80 percent funded on a market basis, then CPI is to max out at three percent inclusive of the Cola. The two percent Cola will be at the bottom of the scale, the 1.5 percent percent will be in the middle of the scale and the one percent will be at the top of the scale.
 
 The totality of the circumstances regarding the Task Force Consensus Recommendation I thought was fair.
 

 I want to thank the Fire and Police Departments' unions, the Task Force, the mayor's office, retirees of both departments and the Fire and Police Pension Board for working on this solution.

Sergeant Ralph S. Brown Retired CPD  


Commissioner Mackey Ask All to Support Football Mocs

The moment that many of us have been waiting for six months is upon us---it is football time in Tennessee.  If you live within the greater Chattanooga area I am asking you to join me in looking upon the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as being our hometown football team.  And it is an exciting team that we can be proud of.    The Chattanooga Mocs will ... (click for more)

Process

My favorite TreeHugger once commented I'm a process sort of guy. One might suppose that's true, even though there are situations in which we must lower our center of mass to keep a firm base, lean forward, put our head down, grab a cheek in each hand and, like Teddy Roosevelt, scream "Charge! (but not with credit cards)" as we move forward con mucho gusto. However, unless one is ... (click for more)

School Board Unanimously Makes Cuts To Teacher Insurance; Spouses Can Only Stay On If They Have No Other Insurance

The Hamilton County School Board on Thursday night voted to Increase the premium for spouses by $100 - a move officials said would save the schools from $2,040,000 to $3,040,000. Spouses will not continue to be covered if they have insurance available to them on their jobs. School officials said the 1,700 spouses on county school insurance last year had $10 million in claims. ... (click for more)

City Audit Hits Travel Abuses By Top Chattanooga Library Personnel; Report Forwarded To State On Possible Fraud

A report by Internal City Auditor Stan Sewell found travel abuses by top personnel of the Chattanooga Library. The auditor said he found possible instances of fraud and forwarded information to state officials in regard to "reported potential fraudulent activity" by Margaret Backus, Systems Administrator and Nathaniel Hill, Assistant Library Director. The report says, ... (click for more)

Central Michigan Comes From Behind To Beat UTC 20-16

Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush passed for 173 yards and two scores to lead the host Chippewas to a come-from-behind 20-16 win against Chattanooga Thursday night in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. UTC (0-1) led 16-0 in the second quarter only to have CMU score 20 straight points for the win in the season opener for both teams. "Our defense played well and played hard, but ... (click for more)

Utah State, Tennessee Will Play Before Sellout Crowd

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Neyland Stadium will be sold out on Sunday night as the Vols host Utah State, a team they have great respect for. On Thursday, Tennessee's assistant coaches talked about the stiff challenge the Aggies present. With the countdown now down to three days, offensive coordinator  Mike Bajakian  feels his young offense is as prepared as it can be. "We've ... (click for more)