Police and Fire Pension Fund

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Saying Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s pension plan “kicks the can” down the road, former City Council presidents Bill Bishop and Stephen Joost are urging residents vote “no” in Tuesday’s election.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Board of Trustees Chair Larry Schmitt says the recent external investigation of the fund was poorly executed.

Schmitt met with Councilman Bill Gulliford this Monday to defend himself against the findings.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Mayor Alvin Brown signed off on the new Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension reform deal Friday morning.

Earlier this month, City Council approved the agreement and Friday morning, the Police and Fire Pension Board of Trustees voted 4-to-1 in favor of the plan.

Jacksonville Fire Department Lt. Richard Tuten voted against the bill. He says he's not confident the city will keep up its end of the bargain. 

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

About a dozen Jacksonville police officers and firefighters voiced their thoughts about the city’s new pension plan at a public hearing Thursday afternoon.

The public-safety employees are not happy with the deal.

The public hearing was the final step before the Police and Fire Pension Board votes on the new plan Friday morning.

Earlier this month, Jacksonville City Council passed the pension bill after years of negotiation. The city will have to pay about $350 million over the next 13 years, and police officers and firefighters will face benefit cuts.

City of Jacksonville

A new plan is on the table to solve the City of Jacksonville’s $1.6 billion pension woes.

Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford announced his proposal for Police and Fire Pension Reform at City Hall Thursday.

The plan calls for many of the same pension benefits as one the City Council rejected last month. But in Gulliford's version, the city would agree not to make further changes to employees' pensions for seven years. Gulliford previously opposed this measure but said times are desperate.

Peter Haden / WJCT

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday revamping how local pensions for police officers and firefighters are funded, bringing closer to resolution a long-running debate over the retirement plans.

The bill (SB 172), which now heads to the House, cleared the upper chamber 36-0 after less than 10 minutes of debate. It relies on a deal struck between cities and unions last year &mdash one that cities have backed away from after the re-election of Gov. Rick Scott in November.

Jacksonville City Council President Clay Yarborough delayed a final vote on pension reform legislation that was set for this week over what he says are new concerns that have recently surfaced about the deal. What to do about Jacksonville’s mounting pension debt has become a pressing financial problem and one that is playing a role in the city’s mayor’s race. We discuss Jacksonville’s pension issues with UNF president John Delaney and UNF criminologist Dr. Mick Hallett.

David Luckin / WJCT

This evening, the Jacksonville City Council delayed an expected vote on sweeping reforms aimed at digging its Police and Fire Pension Fund out of debt. Council President Clay Yarborough said he was worried about locking in benefit levels for a decade.

We discuss the week's top news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; John Burr, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist.

Topics include the mayoral race, an endorsement of Lenny Curry by the Chamber of Commerce-affiliated group JAXBIZ, a JEA committee approving an agreement between the utility and City Hall to help pay down Jacksonville's pension debt, and more.

Peter Haden / WJCT

State and local officials and public watchdogs gathered at Jacksonville City Hall yesterday to see what can be done about the city’s pension debt. Presenters from Florida TaxWatch and the Florida League of Cities put Jacksonville’s problem in the context of a statewide pension crisis.

Florida House of Representatives Website

State Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach) has asked Gov. Rick Scott for an investigation of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund.

In a letter to Scott last week, Adkins asked for a review by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Chief Inspector General to see if any laws were broken in the handling of the pension fund.

"I simply believe that the public trust has been broken," said Adkins. "In order to ensure that our retired firefighters and our retired police officers and the taxpayers are protected, we need to restore that public trust."

Nichos / Wikipedia

On Tuesday night the Jacksonville City Council, in a 16-3 vote, approved new pension reform legislation, seen as a major step forward in a very long journey in the effort to tackle the city’s massive pension costs.

We spoke with veteran Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein about where the pension package goes from here.

  "The next step will likely involve some back-and-forth with the board of the Police and Fire Pension Fund," says Bauerlein.

Nichos / Wikipedia

The Jacksonville City Council has passed a pension reform package in an effort to reduce the city’s deficit of more than $1.6 billion. Three council members voted against the bill, while 16 voted for it despite many of them expressing reservations.

Just after the vote Tuesday evening, council member Bill Gulliford said the measure goes a small way toward reducing debt, but the council still has its work cut out for it going forward.

Mayor Alvin Brown said Wednesday he strongly supports a new pension reform proposal developed by two private citizens in consultation with the mayor's office.

Andrew Jackson High School, Interline Brands, and the First Coast Expressway are in the headlines affecting Northeast Florida today.