With Deadline Looming, Jax Pension Talks Continue

May 15, 2014

Negotiators working to reform Jacksonville’s Police and Fire Pension Fund head back to the table, trying to beat their self-imposed Thursday deadline.

While Mayor Alvin Brown and the head of the pension fund have been able to agree on some things, they’re still far apart on a number of others including cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) and changes in retirement benefits for current employees.

Former Florida State Senator Rod Smith is moderating the talks. He said he’s confident there’ll be a comprehensive reform plan in place by the end of the day.

“Both parties are working hard. Both parties are trying to stay at the table," he said. "My experience would tell me the longer we stay at the table with the parties, the more options that are put out there, the greater the likelihood of success.” 

The fund will cost the city of Jacksonville $148 million this year and that amount will rise to $154 million  next year if nothing’s done.   

And, looming large over everything is the pension fund’s $1.6 Billion unfunded liability which must also be resolved.  

Negotiations resume at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall. They are open to the public.

Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund Executive Director John Keane (far left), Rod Smith (fourth from left), Mayor Alvin Brown (sixth from left) and other stakeholders sit in negotiations, Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.