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Jax Chamber Board Asks Council To Reject Pension Reform Plan

Kevin Meerschaert

The Jax Chamber Board of Directors voted on Friday to urge the Jacksonville City Council not to pass Mayor Alvin Brown's pension reform plan.

Jax Chamber President Daniel Davis said any plan needs to be funded, accountable and predictable. He says the legislation in front of the council doesn't go far enough to do this.

The Chamber's opposition to the plan comes on the heels  of the Jacksonville Civic Council also asking the plan be rejected.

The Civic Council recommended  a shorter deal of two to three years while a more extensive reform plan can be developed.

The Chamber says while it rejects the current legislation it can be used as a starting point for more a more effective, affordable and sustainable plan.      

UPDATE -- 5:07

Here is a statement from Director of Communications Dave DeCamp on the Jax Chamber resolution.

“Just two months ago, the JAX Chamber board passed a resolution urging City Council to act on the retirement reform agreement. Now, it has suddenly reversed course and passed another resolution urging the opposite.

“While the Chamber may be of two minds on this subject, Mayor Brown is not. This retirement reform agreement is good for taxpayers and fair for our brave public safety employees.

“Pension experts have confirmed that it will save $1.2 billion over 30 years, including $45 million in the coming year – enough to stave off deep cuts in city services. Over the next five years, the difference between passing and not passing retirement reform is nearly $100 million in the city budget. If that isn’t effective, comprehensive, and sustainable, we don’t know what is.

“For years, the issue of city pensions has lingered without resolution. Our choice is clear. We can squander this unique opportunity and risk foundering in years of litigation that could tie up millions of taxpayer dollars without solving the problem. Or we can take a historic step that will save taxpayers over $1 billion and make Jacksonville a leader in pension reform.”                 

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.