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


David Carroll: Cracking The Middle School Code

I was recently asked to speak to Ooltewah Elementary fifth graders, as they marked the end of their elementary years.  Now it’s off to the next step.  I believe middle school is the time in which kids either head in the right direction, or the wrong one.  Rather than make them endure a speech by a guy who last wandered the halls in the prehistoric era, I enlisted ... (click for more)

Approve The Humane Educational Society's Increased Budget - And Response

I am a Chattanooga resident and animal lover in Hamilton County. The requested increase for the Humane Educational Society’s budget should be approved.   If we cannot take care of those who have no voice, who will? HES team members and volunteers are very dedicated to making Hamilton County a better place to live, for everyone.   Commissioners, please help them by ... (click for more)

Board Of Regents Board Meets Wednesday To Approve New Chattanooga State President

The Tennessee Board of Regents will convene a special called meeting at  9:30 a.m. CDT next Wednesday to receive recommendations for presidential vacancies at community colleges, including Chattanooga State, and the director position at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Covington/Ripley.  The finalists to replace longtime leader Jim Catanzaro are: ... (click for more)

New CARTA Service To Enterprise South Industrial Park Has "Medium" Success So Far

CARTA officials said its new bus service from downtown to the Enterprise South Industrial Park is meeting with "medium" success thus far. Lisa Maragnano, executive director, said there have been 313 riders on the routes that began at the first of the month. That includes 241 getting aboard downtown in the early morning and 72 riding from Enterprise South in the afternoon. ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Girls Win Second Straight A-AA Track Title

MURFREESBORO – The Signal Mountain Eagles won last year’s Class A-AA state track title by a scant six points, but it wasn’t nearly that close this year. With Camryn Bowman and McKenzie Ethridge both winning two events, the Eagles had a one-point lead following the field events, but ending up scoring 96 points and winning by 24 over runner-up East Nashville. While Signal Mountain ... (click for more)

Baylor To Face GPS Again For D-II State Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – It will be another Baylor-GPS battle for the championship in Division II softball as Baylor advanced with a 10-3 win over St. Benedict while GPS later beat the Lady Eagles by a 2-0 final for the right to face the Lady Red Raiders again. This year’s D-II tournament was similar to last year as Baylor beat GPS on the first day before the Bruisers came back and beat ... (click for more)