TRAFFIC ALERT:

CONSTRUCTION I-95 SB off-ramp to Philips closed 

ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
56°
Few Clouds
H 81° L 62°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    56°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 81° L 62°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    78°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 81° L 62°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    74°
    Evening
    Mostly Sunny. H 81° L 62°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Pension deal could save more than $1B
Close

Pension deal could save more than $1B

Pension deal could save more than $1B
Photo Credit: Colette DuChanois
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown stands with JAFF President Randy Wyse, FOP 530 President Steve Amos and PFPF Board of Trustees Chairman Assistant Chief Bobby Deal to announce a new deal on the police and fire pensions.

Pension deal could save more than $1B

It’s a deal that’s months in the making and has led to mediation, and even a lawsuit.

But now the City of Jacksonville, Fraternal Order of Police, Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters and Police and Fire Pension Fund say they’ve worked out a deal that all parties can agree on, and that will save you money.

“We needed to do retirement reform and we got it done by working together,” Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown tells WOKV.

The deal announced Wednesday is projected to save the city $1.1 billion over the next 30 years, $50 million in the upcoming fiscal year alone.  The city equates that to jobs and services for you.

“It clearly puts us in a great position to start working on next year’s budget,” Brown says.

The road to the deal first started in October of last year when the city outlined a reform plan for the FOP.  By November, the two were at impasse.  JAFF followed soon after- receiving their proposal in December and seeing impasse by January. The key sticking point at that time was who should be sitting at the bargaining table.  The City aimed to negotiate with the unions, but the unions claimed the PFPF was their bargaining unit.  It’s an issue that even drew a lawsuit, and as a result the PFPF was finally given a seat at the table.

“This could have been done a long time ago, but I’m glad it’s done now and we’ll move forward,” Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters President Randy Wyse tells WOKV.

I asked Wyse why he thought the PFPF was finally given a seat at the table.  He point to the lawsuit, which he was a part of.

“It was a good impetus to get us to the table- it did it,” he says.

Brown believes there was a common sense of getting the job done, and that’s what eventually brought everyone together.

For both, this is an important step toward solvency for the city’s retirement system, and keeping all parties on good terms.

“There’s been a lot of indecision and a lot of barbs thrown back and forth, and this [deal] just clears the air,” Wyse says.

The deal must still appear before City Council, but all parties involved in the negotiations are happy with what has been decided so far.

New employees

There will be a number of changes in what new employees can expect out of their retirement plan.  The full list of changes is outlined in a document to the left, but the highlights include more time to become a full retirement beneficiary, greater time served to retire, a lower benefit accrual rate, no DROP, a lower COLA and a higher employee contribution.

Present employees

The city and unions stressed that there will be no impact on existing employees.  Those employees did agree to a higher contribution rate, but that’s only if a prior wage reduction is first restored.  Additionally, a fund that was previously used for additional benefits will now be used to pay down the city’s pension contribution.

Future savings

The parties involved agreed to study several options for potential future savings as part of this deal.  While the deal doesn’t include any action past the study, it’s something the city says it will consider further down the road.  You can see a full list of changes attached to the left, but we’ve listed some of the options here.

-Disability Plan- The current disability plan is included under the PFPF as it stands, and the city wants to examine if removing it from other retirement negotiations could save money.

- Real Estate- The city is currently soliciting bids for a company to inventory and assess all its real estate and determine what to do with it. The city says it’s possible some of the profits from real estate designated for sale could be used to pay down pension costs.

PFPF Governance

There are several areas where the city is looking to better define roles within the PFPF.  Specifically, they are examining selection criteria for future PFPF administrators, retirement options for the administrator and selection guidelines for the fifth members of the PFPF Board.  Further details are attached to the left.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • At least one person was killed and multiple people were hurt early Sunday when gunshots rang out at Cameo Night Club in Cincinnati, Ohio. >> Read more trending news >> Click here or scroll down for the latest
  • Alex Jones on Friday apologized to the owner of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria for spreading the fake story last year that linked the restaurant to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and human trafficking. Jones, as the Austin, Texas-based host of Infowars.com, has a long history of pushing wild and false conspiracy theories, such as claiming that the U.S. government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks or the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. But in a rare backtracking mea culpa, Jones apologized for his role in promoting the baseless “Pizzagate” story that went viral among right-wing bloggers and media sites during the 2016 presidential campaign. >> Watch the clip here The gist of the fake story accused Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, of running a child sex abuse ring through the Comet Ping Pong restaurant owned by James Alefantis. Podesta’s comments about the pizzeria — made in Democratic Party emails exposed by WikiLeaks — became fodder for fake news web portals as well as popular user-generated content sites like Reddit and 4chan. Jones, in a statement he read aloud for his online audience, tried to put some distance between himself and the fake story and blamed “scores of media outlets,” “third-party accounts of alleged activities” and “accounts of (Infowars) reporters who are no longer with us” for the “incorrect narrative” he discussed several times on his program. >> Read more trending news “In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones said. In language that was clearly sculpted by a legal mind hoping to avoid possible litigation, Jones added: “To my knowledge today, neither Mr. Alefantis nor his restaurant Comet Ping Pong, were involved in any human trafficking as was part of the theories about Pizzagate.” For many people, the Pizzagate conspiracy theory became part of the mainstream political discussion only in December, after 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch of North Carolina reportedly brought a gun into a Comet Ping Pong packed with customers, and pointed it at an employee in hopes of finding proof of “Pizzagate.” Welch surrendered to police when he found no evidence that children were being harbored there, D.C. police said at the time. He pleaded guilty to weapons and assault charges Friday, CNN reported.
  • For the second time in less than 24 hours, police have swarmed the Las Vegas Strip after at least one person was killed in a shooting near the Cosmopolitan hotel and casino. >> Related: Burglary at Bellagio Hotel and Casino prompts lockdown on Vegas strip Police said Saturday afternoon that the situation was not an active shooter situation.  The suspect peacefully surrendered around 6 p.m., according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. >> Read more trending news Around 11:30 a.m. Las Vegas police reported that they were investigating a shooting that occurred on South Las Vegas Boulevard. Authorities believed an individual who was on a bus that was traveling on the strip is responsible for the shooting. Police closed portions of the strip, and set up a staging area and a barricade. Guests at the Cosmopolitan resort were evacuated. Shortly after 11 a.m., KSNV reported that at least one victim of a shooting had been transported to University Medical Center trauma in unknown condition. At 1 p.m. Saturday, authorities reported a second victim had been killed. According to USA Today, police evacuated the nearby Cosmopolitan hotel and casino shortly after 1 p.m. “The shooting incident happened on the bus,” said Larry Hadfield, a spokesman with Las Vegas Metro police. “We had one single shooting incident with two victims. Both were transported to the trauma center and one is deceased.” Hadfield said police were negotiating with the suspect Saturday afternoon in an effort to take him into custody, USA Today reported. This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 
  • Las Vegas police are investigating a burglary at a retail store in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino after an incident that occurred overnight Friday, The Associated Press reported.  >> Read more trending news Police said Saturday they believe at least three people entered the store. It was not immediately clear what items were stolen. The store was closed at the time of the burglary.  Authorities said the suspects broke into a high-end jewelry and watch store, where they may have used sledgehammers to break into the shop's jewelry cases. A witness said she saw an armed burglar wearing a pig mask near a Rolex store. Authorities said they are reviewing surveillance tape, where they saw multiple suspects wearing “character masks,” ABC News reported. According to ABC News, the Bellagio was on lockdown for approximately a half-hour after the incident. Police initially thought at least one of the theives may have fired gunshots during the burglary, but later said they believed the sound of the sledgehammers breaking the jewelry cases may have been confused for gunshots. Guests fled the hotel and casino in the midst of the incident. No one was injured.  Police have taken one suspect into custody.  Portions of the Bellagio were closed Saturday as police continue to investigate.
  • A couple has been indicted on accusations that they murdered their deaf teenage son and then burned down their house to cover up the crime, the Associated Press reported. >> Read more trending news  According to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office in New York, Ernest F. Franklin II, 35, and his wife, Heather Franklin, 33, of Guilford, New York, were charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence. The two were indicted Friday on charges of second-degree murder in the death of their adopted son, 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin, People magazine reported. Following an investigation of a fire on March 1 at the family’s 1,300-square-foot home, the couple was arrested. Investigators believe they set fire to their home to cover up the killing of their son. An autopsy determined he died prior to the fire, according to the sheriff’s office. Local law authorities have not said how or when the boy was killed. The Franklins got married in 2011 and adopted Jeffrey six or seven years ago, the sheriff’s office said. According to People magazine, Ernest is an Iraq War veteran. Heather wrote in posts on her Facebook page that she is pregnant. The Franklins are being held without bail. They entered a plea of not guilty. “People are asking themselves, ‘How could this happen?'” Chenango County Sheriff Ernest Cutting Jr. told People magazine. “Certainly for the public here, it’s a mix of anger and frustration and disappointment.” Just days before Heather Franklin was arrested, she posted an update on her Facebook page about how much she missed her son, who she called JR. She also informed friends and family that she and her husband had added their “needs” and “wants” to the CheckedTwice.com Family Gift Registry because they lost everything in the fire. A GoFundMe page was also established, but it has been taken down. The Associated Press reported that police who responded to a 911 call about 1:15 a.m. on March 1 found the Franklin’s house, located about an hour away from Syracuse, engulfed in flames. Jeffrey was inside and unable to escape the fire, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities initially said the cause of the fire appeared to be a wood stove, the residence’s main heating source. “People are wondering how anybody could do something so brutal to a developmentally disabled and handicapped 16-year-old boy,” Cutting told People. “There are a lot of people who would have taken him. There are organizations that would have taken care of him. Why resort to that? … It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy.”

The Latest News Videos