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Watchdog Group Contests Jacksonville City Council’s Pension Reform Plan

Jacksonville City Hall, St. James Building
Ray Hollister

A Jacksonville-based government-watchdog group is challenging the city’s latest pension-reform plan in court.

A judge voided a 30-year pension fund agreement between the city and its police and firefighters in April.

Now, the Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County wants the court to essentially throw out a new Police and Fire Pension Fund proposal submitted by City Councilman Bill Gulliford.

Concerned Taxpayers President John Winkler argues only the mayor and the police and firefighter unions can legally negotiate a new pension deal.

“What we have here is the City Council, which is not the appropriate party for the city, is sitting down and talking to John Keane, who’s the executive director of the Police and Fire Pension Fund Board, and he is not the certified bargaining agent for either of those unions,” Winkler said.

Winkler says the measure would also illegally prevent Jacksonville Mayor-elect Lenny Curry from renegotiating the terms of the deal, should the city suddenly find itself in dire financial straits.

Barring a court order, the City Council will likely vote on the proposed pension reform plan at its meeting next Tuesday evening.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.