City Sues Pension Board Over Director's Pension

Nov 24, 2015

John Keene
Credit News4Jax

The city has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to terminate a special pension created by the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund for its former executive director, John Keane.

LAWSUIT: City of Jacksonville vs. Police and Fire Pension Fund

The suit, filed Friday, claims the Senior Staff Voluntary Retirement Plan set up by the pension fund's board in 2000 was "outside the scope of its powers." It asks that the special fund be terminated and that Keane be ordered to repay any money he has received from it.

The special pension fund had only three participants: Keane; his assistant, Dick Cohee, who died in 2012; and Debra Walmsley. The suit does not name Cohee or Walmsley.

Keane told News4Jax that he cannot comment on pending litigation. 

Councilman Tommy Hazouri said asking the court to stop Keane from collecting money from the pension is the right thing to do, but he hopes it can be resolved before the case goes to trial.

Larry Schmitt, a chief in the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office who is chairman of the pension fund's board, said he is hopeful the case won't cost taxpayers a lot of money.

The City Council authorized the the city's general counsel to file the suit. The council has also subpoenaed pension fund records and is asking fund officials to appear before a committee.