Another prong of Jacksonville’s pension reform proposal was unveiled today, and it was met with a lot of concern over whether it’s the right move for employees.
“Bottom line, some of them cannot afford it,” says AFSCME local President Arthur Finley.
After detailing proposed changes to the police pension plan yesterday, city staffers outlined their vision for the city workers, or AFSCME employees, today.The proposal includes and increase for employees in to their pension contribution from 8% now to 12%, cost of living adjustment would be eliminated, retirement with full benefits could only happen at age 62, and a few other changes.
One proposal- capping annual benefits at $99,999.99 actually brought a little joking, of sorts, from AFSCME representatives who say their members would never reach that limit anyways.
But even the joke was made with a definite tone of concern.Finley says the people he represents are among the lowest paid of all the collective bargaining units, and he has some serious concern with the proposal.At the same time, he understands the need to work within what is best for the employees as well as the taxpayers, a sentiment shared by Mayor Alvin Brown.
Brown wouldn’t commit to just how long it will take to hammer out these changes, not even knowing if it would happen by the next budget year.
“If it takes a little extra time then that may happen, but the goal is to get it done so that we can have a retirement plan that is good for this city and good for the city employees,” he says.
Most of the members I spoke with at the AFSCME meeting today, as well as representatives from FOP, who received its proposal yesterday, say this will not be resolved any time soon.
If approved as is, the AFSCME plan would save the city an estimated $1.05 million over 30 years.