Mayor Berke Accepts Recommendation From Pension Task Force; Details Given

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mayor Andy Berke accepted a consensus recommendation on Thursday, from the Pension Task Force for reforms to the Fire & Police Pension Fund, pending review by the city’s actuary and legal counsel. The recommendation does not decrease monthly pension checks for retirees, he said. Based on initial estimates, the Pension Task Force "believes their recommendations will save taxpayers approximately $4 to $5 million annually and will ensure the fund is financially healthy for retirees in coming years."

“After months of discussion, the Pension Task Force has reached a consensus recommendation that puts the pension plan on a sustainable path in a fiscally responsible way,” said Mayor Berke. “I have reviewed the recommendation, and I am confident this is a strong set of benefits that will reach our shared goals for the Fire & Police Pension Fund.”

“This was difficult work, and I thank the Pension Task Force for the time and effort they put into this process. I’d also like to recognize the representatives of retiree and employee groups, like FOP, IBPO, and IAFF. They showed true leadership and solved a problem that had threatened their members retirement security; police officers and fire fighters should be proud of how strongly they were represented through this process,” he said.

The recommendation made by the Pension Task Force is subject to legal and actuarial review and includes the following: 

  • 100% benefits for public safety employees killed in the line of duty (31.25% increase);
  • An increase in benefits payable to elderly widows of public safety employees, currently received only $500 per month;
  • Sustained, yet cost-neutral, DROP benefit;
  • Temporary reconfiguration of the COLA structure so that those employees who receive the lowest pension benefits receive a higher COLA; and
  • Increased employee contributions phased in gradually over the next three years.

Last August, Mayor Berke formed the Pension Task Force and charged it with finding a consensus approach to reform benefits provided by the Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund. The Pension Task Force aims to ensure the pension plan achieves the following:

  • Attract public safety employees and encourage them to have long careers with the City;
  • Meet the City's obligations to police officers and firefighters; and
  • Use taxpayer dollars responsibly in order for Chattanooga to fund present day public safety initiatives.

Click here to read the recommendation.


1 Person Killed In Wreck On I-75 In Whitfield County

One person died in a crash on I-75 in Whitfield County on Saturday. The wreck happened near exit 348 in the southbound lane. Traffic was backed up for miles after the accident. (click for more)

Over $30,000 Of High-End Men's Clothing Stolen From Hardwick & Co. In Cleveland

Cleveland Police said over $30,000 worth of high-end men's clothing was stolen from Hardwick & Co on Oak Street. The burglary happened sometime Friday night. Items stolen included name brands such as British Belt Company, Dubarry Azores Shoes, Jack of Spades Pants, John Peter London Pants and button down Shirts, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Tailor Byrd Button Down Shirts. ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Looking For A Wife

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a really cool place. I tried to buy a huge mounted buffalo head in an antique store there one time until I found out the shipping charges were four times what the head was worth. But suddenly my rapt attention is riveted on Coeur d'Alene again because a dazzling social experiment is taking place this very moment at a plush resort in north Idaho. Several ... (click for more)

Gonsalves Earns First Double-A Win in 5-3 Victory Against Jackson

Left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves only allowed two runs on six hits while striking out six batters in five innings to earn his first ever Double-A win. The Lookouts 5-3 win was there second of the second half and improves their overall record to 38-35. For the last six weeks or more, many have been wondering when Gonsalves would be promoted to Double-A. Tonight, he made ... (click for more)

Prep Football Jamboree is Aug 12-13 at Finley Stadium

Highlighted by a match-up of state semifinalists in Baylor and Notre Dame, the 57th annual Prep Football Jamboree is set for Aug. 12-13 at Finley Stadium with five games each night. Baylor (10-3) reached the D-II AA semis before losing to eventual state champ Brentwood Academy, while Notre Dame (10-4) reached the D-I 3A semis before losing to eventual state champion Alcoa. ... (click for more)