We Just Ask For Fairness And Some Consideration On Fire And Police Pension Reform

Sunday, February 09, 2014

I have the honor of being a firefighter for the city of Chattanooga.  I have served the city for 27 years.  The men and women who serve to protect this city are some of the bravest, hardest-working individuals I have ever had the privilege to know.  Thank you each and all. 

     As all are aware, the Fire and Police in this city are in the middle of pension reform negotiations.  For better or worse our pension is going to change.  The way this seems to be coming about is through the Mayors' Task Force and our own Pension Board.  It was to be an open and upfront  process to achieve this.  For the most part it was.  Some closed-door sessions occurred that may not have been the best format.  Some feel there may have been some shady dealings.  Some think people were" bought off".  I don't think anyone was.  Turning on our own will solve nothing. Unfounded personnel attacks solve nothing.  Misinformation is rampant on both sides.  Transparency will end a lot of it. This process is ongoing.  Nothing has been set in stone.  Please keep that in mind.

      What I do believe is everyone has worked hard using their own judgment in what is fair to both the city and the departments.  We will never all agree on what is "fair".  The bottom line is we will work longer for less.  What we get at retirement will change.  The Cost Of Living (COLA) will change.  If this will fix the pension for all retirees, active and future employees, then fix it.  Do it right once and be done with it.  But do not make our rally cry be "It could have been worse."  Look at the problems we face longer and consider other ways.  Other ideas.

     We will have given, and now maybe the city can give some back.  Let our retirees use the Wellness Clinic and Pharmacy.  The city used their best years, now take care of them in the later ones.   Our health care was cut off at age 65.  At least let them use this facility for life.  Fix the Fire Department's crippling Injured on duty policy where, when we are hurt saving life or property, our pay is cut.  In this job it is not "if" but "when" and how bad.  Someone in the ICU needs full pay for themselves and their family.  If a few abuse this, then deal harshly with the few and not the masses. How about a cohesive pay plan?  How about market basing the COLA?  The money the city recoups from our pension reforms will be spent.  Spend some small part to help us.

     To the Mayor and City Council, we are not your enemy, nor you ours.  We all want a better city for everyone. We all want trust and respect.  I once said, "Lead us, lead us well and we will follow. Lead us all to a better tomorrow. Together we can move mountains.  My voice is a small one that carries only a small sound.   But with enough small voices the sound is thunderous.  And this great roar can lift up angels...or raise hell.  Me ,myself,  I look toward heaven.  I hope you do too.

Richard Meier


Great Work, City Auditor

As a voter, I was skeptical about having an independent city auditor’s office. This office was created by referendum of the voters. The public wanted third party oversight of city government, for good cause.  I will be the first to admit I was wrong.  A primary problem was the auditor being hired and fired by the mayor’s office, who could also set the auditors operating ... (click for more)

Commissioner Mackey Asks 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)

Plan Revived For 5-Story Boutique Hotel Next To The Walnut Street Bridge

Plans have been revived for a five-story boutique hotel next to the Walnut Street Bridge. Vision Hospitality Group said the yet-to-be named hotel will provide 90 rooms featuring high-end amenities and exemplary service in the city's art district. Plans for a similar hotel were announced in 2012, but the proposal was later withdrawn. The hotel is slated for 102 Walnut ... (click for more)

Grand Jury Says County Needs To Start "Immediately" On Funding A New County Jail

Members of the Hamilton County Grand Jury said in a final report that the county needs to start "immediately" on funding a replacement for the Hamilton County Jail. The report, read by Foreman Robert Smith, says, "The Jail is near and/or over capacity and understaffed!  Hard-working corrections officers are in constant danger.  Being responsible for 80-100 inmates per ... (click for more)

Orr In On Four Touchdowns, Irish Defeat Pioneers, 34-20

Notre Dame’s Kareem Orr, one of the area’s top college prospects, showed his versatility Friday night while leading the Fighting Irish to a 34-20 non-district football victory over East Ridge at Raymond James Field. Orr caught three touchdown passes, threw for one and had 121 yards of offense as the Irish leveled their 2014 record at 1-1. The Irish play at Chattanooga Christian ... (click for more)

Baylor Comeback Swamps Webb, 34-7

Baylor lost a fumble on the third play of the game and the visiting Webb Spartans scored five plays later, but the Red Raiders came storming back to win their second-straight game, 34-7, over the D-II, Class A two-time defending state champions. Quarterback Nick Tiano, who has already committed to Mississippi State, hurled two touchdown passes and scored a third on a sneak from ... (click for more)