An Action News Jax investigation has uncovered that Jacksonville’s pension liability could be $45 million more a year than the city previously reported.
Taxpayers will be on the hook for that money.
“This is outrageous,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
Curry sent an email on Monday to the city’s general counsel, Jason Gabriel.
Curry said the pension fund actuary has been using standards that seem to violate Florida law when calculating the city’s unfunded pension liability.
That actuary, Pension Board Consultants, Inc., was hired by the city’s Police and Fire Pension Fund Board.
“I’m frustrated, continue to be frustrated, with the nonsense that comes out of the pension fund board – this is just another one – because it’s costing taxpayers money,” said Curry.
Pension Board Consultants, Inc. CEO Jarmon Welch reversed the blame, saying the mayor is using his company as a scapegoat.
Welch said the city is on the hook for all that money because it no longer qualifies for a state exemption as a result of Curry’s changes to the pension plan this year.
“Many things that Mayor Curry has been saying is bull***. Political bull****. Now he’s making a big hooray because there’s going to be-- because of what he’s done-- there’s going to be a heavy increase in the contribution. And rather than him coming back and saying, ‘Well, because of what I’ve done, the state won’t give us a waiver anymore.
We’re going to have a heavy increase in the contribution.’ So what does this political guy do? Writes his chief lawyer and says, ‘Get on the actuary,’” said Welch.
Welch will no longer be the city’s actuary by the end of the year.
“I’ve asked our general counsel – our city attorney – to understand why they were not using the correct method.
Who knew they weren’t using it? Is there any documentation that would suggest that there was a good reason?
None of which has been provided to us,” said Curry.
Action News Jax called the Police and Fire Pension Fund Board to ask board chairman JFRD Lt. Richard Tuten how much he knew about this. We have not heard back.
A year ago, a forensic audit revealed $370 million the city’s Police and Fire Pension Fund Board should have, but didn’t, because of poor investment choices. The audit also said there were numerous ethical violations and that the board did not cooperate fully with the investigation.