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


Rep. Holt: Republicans And Democrats Join Forces To Outlaw Traffic Cameras

Newly elected Senator Lee Harris (D-Memphis) and I would seem like total polar opposites politically. He's from the big city of Memphis; I'm from a small town in rural Tennessee; He's a Democrat, I'm a Republican; He's black, I'm white; He's in the Senate, I'm in the House. Unfortunately, many would draw a seemingly logical conclusion that we don't like each other-- that we would ... (click for more)

It Matters Who Leads

When I was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 2008 a constant and repeated refrain from Republican Leadership was; “it matters who leads.” In particular it was Senator Ron Ramsey who would often say “it matters who leads” as part of his stump speech as he traveled the state getting Republicans elected. Tennesseans believed him, and rewarded Republicans with not only majorities ... (click for more)

FCC Votes 3-2 To Approve EPB's Request To Expand Its Broadband Offerings

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to allow EPB to expand its broadband offerings to neighboring communities. Chairman Tom Wheeler and two other Democrats were in favor, while the two Republican members said the agency was acting illegally in overriding state law. EPB's phone, Internet and TV offerings have been far more successful than expected and ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools, UTC To Close Friday; Other Closings Announced

Due to remaining snow on some of the roadways and the potential for black ice overnight and into the morning, Hamilton County Schools will be closed on  Friday . School Age Child Care will also be closed. Employees who accrue vacation will report by  10 a.m.  and maintenance employees will report on regular schedule.  All classes are being ... (click for more)

Baylor Girls Lose In State Basketball Semifinals, 69-61

NASHVILLE -- The third time wasn't the charm for the Baylor Lady Red Raiders. Facing the Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles in the semifinals of the D-II Class AA girls state basketball tournament at Lipscomb University, Baylor came up short for the third time this season against the Lady Eagles by a 69-61 final score. It was a see-saw affair with seven ties and 13 lead changes, ... (click for more)

Region 3-AAA To Play Friday With Earlier Start Times

The Region 3-AAA basketball tournament, despite schools being closed, will resume on Friday at Ooltewah High School with four semifinal games on the schedule. While the matchups remain the same, start time for the games have been moved up to 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Ooltewah athletic director Jesse Nayadley said. While schools will be closed on Friday, Nayadley ... (click for more)