Another step in Jacksonville’s plan for pension reform meets a similar response.
Today, Mayor Alvin Brown outlined proposed changes for the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters, and you can see some of those below.
To the union, however, there is no proposal on the table.
“I’ll only react to proposals that they give our trustees,” says JAFF President Randy Wyse.
Wyse stands with the Fraternal Order of Police in its argument that the city must negotiate any pension reform with the Police and Fire Pension Fund, not the unions. That’s an argument that led the city to declare an impasse on negotiations with the FOP.
Wyse says JAFF will not declare impasse.
“But at some point they [the city] need to decide whether they’re gunna continue to talk to us, or you know, take whatever action they deem necessary,” he says.
Wyse hopes the Mayor begins to take the negotiations to the Pension Fund.
“The Pension Fund and the trustees- they’re willing to do that. They’re begging them to please come over, let’s talk,” he says.
He says the union is not against pension reform, and will have a say in the negotiations through their designated trustee on the board. They are also willing to meet with the city, but to discuss employee benefits rather than pension.
“I will continue to tell them, you’re talking to the wrong people,” he says.
The Mayor was not available for comment on JAFF’s stance Thursday, however in a release sent from his office, he says they pension system is broken and must be fixed to “the long-term economic security of public safety employees while also protecting taxpayers.”
The city estimates the changes to JAFF and FOP would save $1.5 billion over 30 years.
Some of the proposed changes:
-Reducing the assumed rate of return to a “more realistic” 6.9%, from 7.75%. -Capping benefits at $99,999.99, from no cap. -Requiring 27 years of service to retire, from 25. -Eliminating DROP -Eliminating COLA -Boosting employee contribution to 14%, from 8%