City Pension Double Standard - And Response

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Re: Chattanooga City Council OKs pension plan amendment 8-26-14

The Chattanooga City Council voted Tuesday to keep future retirees who are re-employed by the city from dipping into their current retirement while contributing to a new city pension.

But first council members gave an exemption to two of their colleagues and one other city employee.

Councilman Moses Freeman said this was a fair solution because his colleagues are all contributing to a new pension plan and it’s a promise the city has already made to him and Councilman Yusuf Hakeem.

“That was not the time to say you couldn’t (draw from your pension). The way you do it is what they did now, it’s for anyone in the future,” Freeman said. “It’s fair and it’s appropriate. It’s moral. It’s legal and it’s ethical.”

But yet, Fire/Police pension reform to our cost of living adjustments was also promised, I requote "That was not the time to say you couldn’t. The way you do it is what they did now, it’s for anyone in the future.”

Double standard?

James Appugliese, Retired CPD

* * *

Earlier this year, the City Council voted unanimously to cut pension benefits for all retired firefighters and police officers starting in January of 2015. The City Council voted unanimously yesterday to not allow council double dipping in the city general pension fund, except Councilman Freeman and Councilman Hakeem. They will be allowed to still double dip. Below is a statement Councilman Freeman made.

"Councilman Moses Freeman said this was a fair solution because his colleagues are all contributing to a new pension plan and it’s a promise the city has already made to him and Councilman Yusuf Hakeem."

“That was not the time to say you couldn’t (draw from your pension). The way you do it is what they did now, it’s for anyone in the future,” Freeman said. “It’s fair and it’s appropriate. It’s moral. It’s legal and it’s ethical.”

My question to all of the City Council, especially Mr. Freeman, is the following:

When you and all of the other members of the City Council voted to take away benefits from fire and police retiree's, was that fair and appropriate to the fire and police retirees?  Was it ethical to the fire and police retirees? Was it moral to the fire and police retirees? Was it legal what you did to the fire and police retirees?

The answer to all of these questions is No. But it seems to be yes for Mr. Freeman and Mr. Hakeem. We also were promised our benefits for our service to the city just as Mr. Freeman stated above. I worked 28 years for the Chattanooga Fire Department and have been retired almost six years, yet they voted to reduce my benefits and all other retired fire and police members. This decision was nothing but politics at its best.

The good ole buddy system is alive and well in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Bill Melhorn


Who Does Chattanooga Belong To, Anyway? - And Response

Last week I read two opinions that were based on good premises, but still contained irritating statements.  Under the title Downtown Needs Cleaned Up (August 24, 2016) was the argument, "Why invite tourists to come visit Chattanooga when our streets are a stinking bio-hazard?"  And a second to the motion, "Make downtown look good for the tourists."  Another ... (click for more)

Jonathan Welch Is To Be Commended For His Leadership On The School Board

Dr. Jonathan Welch has faithfully served the Hamilton County Board of Education, representing District 2, for the last four years. He ends his time on the school board as chairman, a role he stewarded well during a tumultuous time in our school system as we prepared to search for a new superintendent.  Jonathan has served our school system and represented ... (click for more)

2 Officers Testify That Miller Sped Toward Them In Vehicle; Woman Describes Frightening Carjacking

Two Chattanooga Police officers testified Tuesday that James Bryan Miller drove an SUV directly toward them, and both said they expected to be hit in an Aug. 1 incident in which Miller at one point drove north in the southbound lanes of I-75. Investigator Ty Cooper said he was bracing to have Miller ram into his police vehicle in reverse at a house on Watts Avenue, but he said ... (click for more)

Committee To Try To Reach Consensus On The Location Of The Planned Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center

In partnership with Chattanooga City Councilman Jerry Mitchell and Retired Major General Bill Raines, the Medal of Honor Heritage Center on Tuesday announced the formation of a special ad hoc committee that will develop a list of consensus recommendations for the proposed Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center. The committee, which is composed of local business ... (click for more)

Potent Baylor Continues Unbeaten Volleyball Onslaught

Another one bites the dust. Baylor’s Lady Red Raiders knocked off visiting East Hamilton, 3-0, on Monday and extended their season-opening winning streak to 15 consecutive matches. Coach Sarah Lail’s squad blistered the Lady Hurricanes by set scores of 25-10, 25-8, 25-14. “It’s definitely a great feeling,” Lail said of the impressive winning streak. “The girls have ... (click for more)

Vols' Jones: Good Game Habits Start In Practice

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –  Ninth-ranked Tennessee's season opener against Appalachian State is just three days away. Coach and assistant coaches Mike DeBord, Bob Shoop, Larry Scott and Steve Stripling provided a Mon day   update. The coaches shared how the team has prepared this week for its first true game action since the Outback Bowl in January. Butch ... (click for more)