ATLANTA MAYOR MOVES TO CUT CURRENT EMPLOYEE PENSIONS

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed asked members of the Atlanta City Council today to consider cutting the pensions of existing city employees, a move that unions say is illegal and would set a precedent allowing other cities to alter the retirement of their current employees.

Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman said the mayor would like to see the council come to a decision on the matter by July 1.

Each of two plans put forward by the mayor  to the council’s finance executive committee would shift more of the cost burden of retirement from the taxpayers onto the employees themselves and would slightly reduce retirement benefits.

Both plans call for “closing” the amortization of pensions—meaning the obligation to pay off the funds would be spread over a set period of 30 years. “Option 1” would move all employees from a defined benefit plan in which they know how much money they will draw in retirement to a defined contribution plan similar to a 401 K that fluctuates according to financial market performance. It would require a 6 percent contribution from employee paychecks. The mayor claims it would save the city between $27 million and $31 million in the first five years.

Option 1, according to the mayor’s office, has been the plan in place for all higher ranking employees hired since 2001.

“Option 2”would shift employees at pay grade 18 or below—sergeant and below in the police department—to an 8 percent defined contribution plan and would also allow them to participate in Social Security, which the city opted out of in the 1970s to avoid the funds matching required by the federal government. Reed says this option would save the city between $12 million and $18 million in the first five years.

The changes would affect a majority of employees. Those with less than about 27 years with the city would see an increase in the amount of money withheld each pay period in order to achieve slightly less than present projected retirement earnings.  

On average the portion withheld from an employee’s check would rise from about 8 percent to 14 percent.

Using the example of a 25-year employee who made $45,000 annually and retired at age 55, Reed showed that the current retirement would be $33,750 per year, or 75 percent of their earnings while still employed. Under Option 1, however, that would drop to $30,121, or 67 percent of the employee’s earnings.

Under Option 2, the same employee would see his or her annual retirement earnings decreased from $33,750 to $30,406.

At present, the pensions rely upon funding from city taxpayers, but the city has not met its obligation to the pension match in about a decade, a situation acknowledged by Reed, and one he attributes largely to the recession. Reed explained that the unfunded portion of the pensions, the part the city is required to pay to match the contributions its employees make, has soared from about 4 percent for the police in 2000 to almost 50 percent in 2009. The pension funds of the two other employee groups, the firefighters and general employees, have seen similar increases in the city’s unfunded liability.

“The direction these funds have taken is undeniable,” Reed said. “It is literally unconscionable to continue.”

The mayor held out the threat to fire employees at least 10 times during his presentation to council, if pension costs are not reduced.

“I don’t want to fire people,” the mayor said, but added that the city is running out of money.

The attorney for the International Fire Fighters Association has sent a letter to the city claiming that modifying the pensions of existing employees without employees’ consent represents a breach of the employment contract and would open the gate for other public employees elsewhere to have their retirement terms changed without their permission. The firefighters union says such changes are illegal and the group is prepared to fight it out in court with the city.

“We have received a letter [from the firefighters’ counsel] that we are going to take very seriously,” Reed said. “I happen to believe it could not be more wrong, but that will come out in the wash over time.”

The president of the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, who also spoke during the four hour meeting at City Hall, seconded the firefighters, saying the police would also be willing to pursue a lawsuit to stop such changes.

When council members raised the question of whether good employees would seek employment elsewhere if changes to the pensions went through, Reed said: “We have no problem recruiting employees in an environment where there is 10 percent unemployment.”

Councilman C.T. Martin said the market may have been to blame for much of the city’s pension woes, because pension money invested in the markets performed badly, but it’s not to blame for all of it.

He pointed out that the City of Atlanta has been largely funded through bonds which have in turn robbed the city of tax revenue and pushed the city into debt. That revenue, said Martin, could have been used to help meet the pension obligation.

Atlanta has 10 TADs, or Tax Allocation Districts. They are funded by bonds which are then paid off by setting aside any tax revenue collected in the TADs for payment of the bond debt. So, that’s tax money the city can’t use for other things. The idea behind the TADs was to attract development by having the taxpayers underwrite the projects of private real estate and construction firms, however, many of Atlanta’s TADs are prevalently condo developments, and many of the units are sitting empty or being rented at less than the amount the city originally proposed. SR

37 thoughts on “ATLANTA MAYOR MOVES TO CUT CURRENT EMPLOYEE PENSIONS

  1. Keep taking and taking. Reed is an idiot to put out a statement that he can easily use unemployment to hire more Officers or Firemen. The Police department is already inexperienced as it is, and the lawsuits are piling up. Maybe the lawsuits should go after the POLITICIANS whose actions are the ENTIRE cause for the downward spiral this City is in. They knew what they were doing when they started all this nonsense well BEFORE the recession started. Blaming the recession for the nearly criminal way this City is run is a cop out, or a deflection. Where does it end? Maybe we can get lucky and the Feds will step in and take over the City. Tougher times, more violent crime, cut the department even more and bring in inexperienced Officers to replace them……smart thinking there “Mayor” Reed. Glad you knew what you were getting into before the election and STILL lied to them and said you would make public safety your priority. All the money in this City and still nothing to show. Where does all this money go? Whose pockets are getting filled by taxpayers money? When will the taxpayers finally say enough is enough, clean house, and put the next group of thieves better known as polititians on a shorter leash?

  2. Real nice attitude……basically saying if you want to go then go, we will hire less expierenced, less educated, bottom of the barrel replacements at half your veteran salary……can you say kiss my xxx and exit stage left……..

  3. Well we have seen this coming for a while. The Mayor sees an opportunity to use the current economic situation in the country to attempt to stick it to the employees of the City and build his immoral legacy. Both the police and firefighters as well as the general employees will likely prevail in any lawsuit as Georgia case law and the Georgia constitution have held consistently that municipal pensions are a contractual obligation between the employer and the employee. Any reduction in benefits would likely not survive a court challenge despite the Reed-sided Troutman Sanders opinion. Many of these employees started years ago and because the City did not want to pay into Social Security, they opted to contribute to a 30 year pension with a defined benefit. Now it’s fourth and long for many of these employees who have planned their lives based on this contract with the City. The City can no more walk away from this contract than they can the Park Atlanta contract and if they do, it will cost them a lot of money.

    Perhaps this is a publicity stunt orchestrated so someone will notice Reed in Washington, or perhaps its a political stunt so he can say “I tried but the law and Council did not go along with me”, and he can please his republican contributors for his next political ambition. Or perhaps this is a scare tactic so he can get concessions from employees during budget and pension negotiations.

    Even if it was legal to rob these employees of their benefits, it is immoral and shocking to do so and I am surprised that there is not more of an uprising in the City of Atlanta. The Mayor shows what an uninformed politician he is when he talks of no problems recruiting with a 10% unemployment rate. Recruit who? Lower the standards, allow unemployed and uneducated people to become police and firefighters, then pay the lawsuits and investigate the embedded corruption. We have already seen this as we reap the benefits of the lower Police standards implemented by Pennington Inc. in a relatively healthy economy. (multiple lawsuits since Pennington’s lowered hiring standards)

    Welcome to a future Detroit. If the Council allows Reed and his sidekick Heinrich Himmler (aka Peter Aman) to destroy this City and reduce its loyal employees benefits they should be ashamed. If the citizens allow it, they get the government they deserve.

    1. JPS, excellent commentary. Keep it up and make sure to post on Galloway’s Political Insider blog too. It’s the only way to get any balance at the AJC.

  4. NEWS FROM ATLANTA FIRE FIGHTERS
    ATLANTA FIRE FIGHTERS RESPOND TO MAYOR’S PENSION PROPOSAL

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Atlanta, Georgia – Tuesday, March 16, 2011

    Today, Mayor Kasim Reed unveiled proposals to unilaterally change the terms of Atlanta’s pension plans for existing employees that would violate a binding legal contract between the city and its firefighters, police officers and public employees. The proposals represent an unconscionable break in faith with those men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the life and property of Atlanta’s citizens.

    For over a decade, Atlanta’s firefighters have worked for 30% below market wages, sacrificing higher salaries with other area departments in favor of their vested interests their retirement plan. Now, Mayor Reed has proposed the ultimate betrayal of the city’s end of the bargain. The proposals seek to deny Atlanta employees of the value of the contract they city willingly entered into with them.

    A recent finding by the pension review panel appointed by Mayor Reed found that Atlanta’s retirement plans offer only an average benefit and that the large majority of the unfunded liability is due to historically low market performance due the the recent, Wall Street induced, economic crisis. The $1.5 billion underfunded liability being reported was from the depth of the crisis in 2008, and the liability has already begun to shrink as investment markets have rebounded dramatically. The dire specter of a $4.5 billion liability assumes an unrealistic worst-case scenario. The liability in the pensions are based on 30-year performance and there is no period in over 100 years when the markets have failed to yield a 9 percent average annual return.

    The Mayor’s proposal to move employees away from defined benefit plans and into defined contribution plans will cost taxpayers more in the long run, provide a dramatically lower retirement benefit, and leave firefighters and police officers unable to retire at an age certain. Additionally, defined contribution plans offer no provisions for line of duty disability or survivor’s death benefits – protections critical to public safety workers. Some states and municipalities, including West Virgina and Florida have tried defined contribution plans for new hires only to return to defined benefit plans when promised savings and benefit levels didn’t materialize.

    Despite being presented a detailed legal analysis showing clearly that pensions are a property right protected by the U.S. and Georgia Constitution, Mayor Reed seeks to do what no other Georgia municipality has done – unilaterally revoke vested pension rights from existing plan participants.

    Atlanta Professional Fire Fighter president Jim Daws commented, “Atlanta’s pensions offer an average percentage of salary at retirement compared to other area municipalities, but because our salaries are about 30 percent below those departments, our pensions, in real dollars, are much less. The City of Atlanta has a funding problem, not a spending problem. Atlanta’s taxpayers are providing employment, transportation, convention and entertainment infrastructure to a metropolitan area of over six million people. Yet today, a large majority of sales tax collected in the City of Atlanta flow to surrounding suburban and rural areas. Rather than betraying modest retirement promises made to Atlanta’s firefighters, police and public employees, Mayor Reed should work with the state to repair Atlanta’s structural underfunding problem.”

    ###

  5. Nice…JPS tosses the 1st Nazi card on the Ramage Report. Which of course shows your ignorance of WWII and Nazi Germany. I’m thinking this pension thing and the ills of COA fall just shy of exterminating 6 million people.

    Let me say I am not a fan of Reed, something our Blonde Blogging Goddess of the Media will confirm. But-Kasim Reed did not make this mess, he’s the one having to clean it up. I can’t see where it would be legal to change the pension arrangements with long term employees who are on verge of retirement. It’s also not fair to keep the current arrangement going as it’s unsustainable. I’d rather see a total cut of city government…equal to the amount needed to fund pensions for people that will be retiring within the next 10 years. Modify the rest, based on length of service, lowering the pension amount and shifting to 401K, until the pension folks have retired with what they agreed upon.

    There is NO easy fix….someone is going to feel pain, either the pensioners or the citizens of Atlanta, most likely both. Instead of pissing money away on a streetcar, the city’s contribution should be going straight to the pension fund.
    Raising taxes isn’t going to work…people in Atlanta are already overtaxed, water bills are sky high, and road repair/maintainence is almost non existent.

    The pension debacle rests on the backs of previous administrations…Young, Jackson, Campbell, Franklin….all whom diverted the money to other areas to fund a myrid of crappy projects and stuff their freinds pockets. Reed is the last guy in line that has to pay the tab now.

    1. Hooter, you miss the comparison, that wasn’t a “Nazi” card although Himmler was Hitlers right hand man and a Nazi, nor am I comparing the robbing of employees to the extermination of people. Together they destroyed Germany much as Reed and
      HIS right hand man Aman are destroying Atlanta. My reference to Himmler is as accurate historically as the comparison of Aman and his relationship with Reed. Learn your history.

      1. Hooter, I agree with your comments concerning a total cut of City government if we cannot afford what we have.
        I agree there is no easy fix but to rob Peter to pay Paul is ethically and morally wrong. I also agree that raising taxes
        is not going to work as our taxes are high enough when comparing to the services we receive. The mess was created
        by a long list of politicians and the downturn in the economy but there are a host of other reasons that revenue has
        dropped in the City and a myriad of solutions that do not involve destroying the morale of current employees and
        risking losing experience or worse fostering a sense of apathy in the ranks.

        A hiring freeze should be implemented immediately before we tackle the issues with the pensions of current
        employees. The City of Atlanta Police Department has been chugging along with about 1640-1740 sworn officers for
        a very long time. Why take on the salary and benefit of another 400 officers we cannnot afford and WILL have to
        eventually layoff.

        Thanks

  6. Why are City employees the ones who pay the consequences of the decisions made by incompetent leaders? At least once, do the right thing.
    Why keep taking and taking?!!!!!!

  7. I’d like to keep a sense of fairness about the pensions. But year after year of dealing with most city employees that seem offended when asked to actually make an effort leaves me less sympathetic. Part of the employment contract should include performing some productive work for at least one hour every day.

  8. So there’s no such other right hand man comparision available,eh? Guess that makes Joe Biden Heinrich Himmler….to Obama as Adolf Hitler? After all it’s historically accurate…Biden is Obama’s right hand man, eh? So you’ve no issue using the Nazi comparison with Reed/Aman, then it’s okay for anyone I would guess from your explaination.

    Actually-I think using Nazi comparisions for anyone NOT A NAZI is utter bullshit. I had two grandfathers that were shot by Nazis. One lived, the other I never met.One of my close friend’s relatives were murdered by Nazis, in fact a good portion of her family wiped out by Nazis.

    I do know my history….I know exactly what the Nazis did, and how you are using the “oh it’s historically accurate” excuse to hide behind. And FYI it was Hermann Goering that was Hitler’s right hand man, followed by Karl Doenitz. Himmler was in the SS, and while subordinate to Hitler, eventually was forced out from his position and his arrest ordered by Hitler in April 1945 one of Hitler’s last acts as Furher. Himmler was also below Martin Bormann in the chain. So your comparison is quite wrong.

    Ask Steph…I’m no supporter of the Reed administration and rarely pass up the chance to tweak her ( in a kidding way) about endorsing him. But I would never stoop to using Nazi imagery to describe his adminstration or ‘compare” his relationship with someone that way.

    Reed and Aman could be compared to many other figures in the world….you chose Nazis.

    1. JPS and Shooter,
      Since I know both of you, I can assure you that you’d be best buds if you sat down to talk for a minute. I know for a fact that the Holocaust is something that JPS takes very seriously and he would never, ever want to diminish its gravity by carelessly throwing around comparisons. You’re correct that Himmler wasn’t Hitler’s right hand man, but he was certainly a henchman and I think JPS was making the point that Aman is a henchman for Reed in the effort to diminish the retirement of city workers. You are very right that Nazi references shouldn’t be tossed about, but since JPS is one of the people presently contemplating how he signed a contract guaranteeing one thing and is now being asked to support that thing being changed to something quite different after many years of service when he’s older and not likely to get another job, he probably does feel that he’s suffering a brutal attack.
      And because you have shared with me some of the history of your family, let me assure you that no one who comments on this blog should ever take their suffering and loss lightly. The Holocaust matters. And if you ever talked to JPS you would see that he believes that, maybe even as passionately as you do. — Best, Steph

      1. Thanks Steph,

        My reference was wrong and I do apologize, I tear up whenever I watch anything involving the Nazis and really do think that I became a police officer because in elementary school I had to sit through hours of films of the Nazis and the sickness they were invlved in. I would never, ever take it lightly and would give my life today to fight such attrocities, and have been to 17 funerals in 22 years for like minded officers since I became o police officer. More funerals than weddings. I also served four years in the military defending those who are not able to defend themselves.

        I learned a lesson and will be more compassionate in the future and I truly apologize to Tvshooter if I caused any emotional stress.

  9. Consider the facts. APD has an 11% attrition rate (4.5% for other city employees, 2% for fire department), 70% of the department has less than 10 years of service, most new hires leave within 3-5 of service for more consistantly paying police departments. APD hires 1 out of 9 applicants, and from time of application to the completion of field training is one year. APD hires over 200+ officers per year and looses that many annually.

    APD is a young department that is hiring people who need a job not people who want to police. The difference between the two is once the economy takes an up-tick (expected in 2012), young officers are gone to more competitive departments or back to the private industry where they belong.

    Policing is not remotely like any other job in the city, yet we are compared to all city employees in pay and benefits. We represent 55% of the city payroll, thus the largest department in the city, and the largest PD in Georgia. Period. If a ditch digger believes he should make as much as the doctor, let him train like one and do the job. This is not communist Russia, y’all. There is differential pay for a reason. If someone wants to be payed as much as a police officer, apply for the job…we have 200 openings annually. That’s not generally going to happen because no one actually wants to do what it takes to be a police officer. They just want everyone to be equal…like the doctor and the ditch digger.

    My prediction is such: 1)the courts will side with previous Georgia Supreme Court rulings on this matter and rule the city’s attempt to breach an aggreement/contract will be illegal. 2.) city council members will find another way to fund this deficit to prevent their phones from blowing-up over constituants raging complaints. 3.) Mayor Reed will get credit for trying to act “conservative” in amoungst Democrats which will enable him to position himself for his next political move, which won’t include anything in Atanta government. 4.) city employees healthcare contributions will become substantially more and retired officers health cost will skyrocket (because they are the most vulnerable), thus finding the budget savings without affecting the pensions and preventing an expensive court challenge.

    1. Baker, do you think that retirement is fair in the private sector? I don’t. I can’t think of anyone in the middle income bracket today who can actually retire on their 401 Ks (keep in mind that more than 70 percent of Americans earn less than $60,000 per year). The 1990s saw the beginning of an ongoing assualt on retirement. The private sector’s retirement plans have been gutted. Evening-up the public sector with those is taking things to a new low. What should be done is to restore retirement in the private sector by tying executive retirement packages to the performance of their companies and capping their “golden parachute” retirement funds so that private sector companies can guarantee a certain retirement amount for rank and file employees rather than leaving their retirement packages to the whims of the stock market.
      My Dad grew up during the Great Depression. He never used the term “investing in the stock market,” instead he always said “playing the stock market.” Of course investment is critical to making sure American innovation gets the capital it needs to generate job growth, but Dad’s characterization of the market wasn’t that far off base. It is, in fact, a gamble, and it’s a gamble that the private sector requires its lower-paid employees to play everyday with their retirement funds. Where has that gotten them? I happen to have some private sector retirees in my family. When they retired they went to work at Dollar Stores and things of that nature–I bet that’s not considered a golden retirement by most folks. If we are still a culture that respects work, then we must learn to shape public policy so that those who have given most of their lives to work–in the public and private sectors–are not forced to live out their old age in poverty. The message it sends to young people is: Your work doesn’t matter, it would be better for you to be a crook and die young.

      1. I totally agree with you on the ridiculousness of the CEO pay and golden parachutes at big companies. The fact that anyone would have given Bob Nardelli that much money after repeated bonehead moves is unbelievable. I definitely agree with you there.

        As far as retirements go, mandatory retirements ages should be raised. The social securities retirement age should also be raised. Plenty of people are living well into their 80’s. When ss was implemented, the average lifespan was like 64 or something. I’m 28 years old: I think most people my age expect the whole thing to be broke altogether or, we’re gonna have to start paying more into the system and retire later. And I really think most folks would be okay with that.

        This whole thing needs to be overhauled. The haphazard, last-minute fixes don’t work on a system based out of the 1930’s and ’40s before baby-boomers even existed.

        1. Is it fair to say that most of this is because of previous administration’s either bad management or just plain book-cooking? With all those tads and hiding of other expenses. It’s kind of the grasshopper and the ant and unfortunately, Atlanta is the grasshopper. Something has to be done to move us more in the direction of the ant.

  10. This city wastes money everyday but unfortunantly the recovery has always been on the backs of Atlanta’s public servants, public workers, police and firefighters. They’ve always suffered for the mistakes made by city officials.

  11. Funny the city employees are being asked to sacrifice again. Its not enough that they got, what one or two raises during the franklin administration? Were here all these private sector people demanding that city employees get their raises? Funny how when things are good, everyone minds there own business, but when things get sticky it goes to, If I don’t have you shouldn’t have.
    Reed is going to throw this out there, stick it to the employees that is obvious he dosent care about…..what was that comment about 10% unemployment? Get it tied up in court for years, cost the city millions, and loose anyway. What I find most revolting about this situation is the arrogance, and lack of caring that this supposed great leader is displaying.
    Buying luxury SUV’s for him and his buddies to ride around in. Telling the employees, tough if you dont like it leave. Lets not forget that little stunt he tried to get past with the chief…..retire, collect a PENSION and the get rehired? Some of us saw him for what he was when he was running…..another Bill C. The only hope we have is that he moves on to his next political aspiration QUICKLY so we can hopefully get a TRUE LEADER. One that understands the struggles of his employees and really cares about public safety, and public service.

  12. What a horrible choice the City of Atlanta citizens made in the last Mayoral election.

  13. Kasim Reed’s actions – revoking vested pensions – prompted by Peter Aman and the ideologues at Bain and Company, would make Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Chris Christy in New Jersey blush. When it comes to screwing public employees for political gain, Reed makes those Tea Partiers look like pikers.

    1. Thanks Monk,

      I wonder why a Federal Judge stopped Governer Walkers plans in Wisconsin? Walker did not even come close to what Reed Inc. wants to do. Judge Maryann Sumi issued a Temporary Restraining Order. Does Mayor Reed think he will be able to step out of a contract without a Judge being involved???

      This will cost the City millions, and Reed and Aman’s lawyer freinds will make bank for sure!!

  14. JPS,
    It didn’t cause me distress…it’s that using that type of comparison trivializes what the Nazis did….and in turn future generations seem to be learning less and less about the atrocities they committed. And if the future generations don’t learn this stuff they are bound to repeat it.

    No hard feelings….I take it from Stephanie’s post you are a city employee/union member. While I am not in favor of government employees being unionized, I do believe that the people working under and hired under a set of parameters and agreements, then that contract should be honored. Screw the freaking stupid ass streetcar, pay that money into the pension funds.

    A contract is a contract and obviously the COA cannot be trusted to honor their contracts….sorry Mayor Reed. If the Mayor has any honor or dignity he’ll stand up and say “I did not make this mess. However I will honor the agreements to all current employees. That will mean a huge sacrifice from the citizens of Atlanta. Those citizens have a right to be angry and pissed off. Feel free to contact Bill Campbell and Shirley Franklin and let them know. Their abdication of fiscal duty while in office has created this mess…again I will fix it, but I will do it and honor our committments”.

    I am not in any way holding my breath on that one.

    For now Reed is the Mayor we have, until the next election. It would be wise to relieve him of his duties so he may move on to wherever he wants to be. The catch of course is we could end up with worse.

    1. Thanks Tvshooter, I am an employee but not a union member, but I do believe a contract should be honored. Had it not been for the pension contract I would have left the City twenty years ago.

  15. Unless I missed a comment somewhere here, I think I’ve read this whole page and while I understand all the complaints about everything..breaching a contract is messed up and will likely be struck down…I’m not sure that I saw one proposal for a different solution with which city workers would be happy.

    Combined with an economy that is crap, all those TADs are handcuffing the city. The nature of Atlanta as one of the most commuting cities in the country also doesn’t help. Most of those salaries are flowing out to the burbs to be spent. Anyone have an answer other than raising taxes? Or is that really our only option?

  16. Baker, I think that there would have to be a clear and concise understanding of the situation. When looking at the presentation, and the explanation, and then the comments here I think there is a lot to discuss.
    It appears as if there are several pension funds, which ones are funded and which ones are not? It also seems as if they are presenting numbers from a few years ago. We all know that the market has returned rater nicely over the last few years.
    What does unfunded liability really mean, and what if any danger does it present to the city? What does the city spend it’s money on and how do the budget it? I mean a clear and concise explanation of it. I hear things like this fund, that fund general fund….when they talk about pension expenditures is it a total of all these funds, one fund…what?
    Has anyone talked to the employees too see if they have any options? I believe there was a “drop” program mentioned years ago, what if any would that help? Would the employees be willing to give more to the pension on there own? Did anyone ask? Is there a better investment program that the city can use? Too many questions in this so far……I dont think raising taxes need to be brought up just yet.

  17. I see no difference between adjusting City pension benefits and adjusting Social Security benefits. To be honest, City pensioners have contributed only about 1/6 of their pension while Social Security beneficiaries have contributed 1/2 of theirs.
    At the end of the day, both must be changed or they will fail.

    1. Broch, from the police perspective only, we dont pay into SS so we dont have SS to fall back on. The pensions had been raped and mismanaged by the City for many administrations. It is only somewhat recently that changes were made to give us more control over the funds to ensure that the city doesnt mismanage our future. No one argues that they must change, the question is at whose expense. A government should be good stewards of the taxpayers money ALL the time, not just in crunches. Prioritizing where your money is spent is no different for them than it is for you as an individual. There are clearly areas that there is waste and there are opportunities for revenue increasing(without tax increases). Lets look there first. How about designating 1 dollar of every traffic citation or court fine to go to the pension?

      1. Nick, I understand that police don’t contribute to Social Security, but that’s not my point. My point is that most citizens have contributed to Social Security and each has contributed 1/2 of the funds in their account. Social Security benefits will be reduced or the system will fail. Why should City police, who contributed only 1/6 of the funds in their accounts, be treated differently?

        1. apples and oranges…but it does further prove that governments don’t do much if anything good at all….

  18. Here’s part of the answer for you. Immediately place all Officers currently employed to the step they should be at. The City was flush with money most of the years the steps weren’t given to them and no one thought it bad. This was the beginning of the end for this department, trace it back and see. When the City had money and didn’t pay the Police, they started leaving. Less Officers handled more calls, and they did it in spite of a City that plainly didn’t care one way or the other. The leaders on the department saw this and didn’t complain to the politicians……..didn’t want to rock the boat.
    Make it mandatory for new hires going forward to live in the City. Put new hires on the new “pension” plan. Foster a sense of PRIDE in the department by showing the Officers that the job they do is not taken for granted, looked down on, or some necessary evil, but a KEY FACTOR in the City getting back on track and moving forward.
    Make this department something the City can be proud of, and watch what happens around town. Instead of making it a training ground for many other departments, make it a place where the best Officers in other departments want to apply. This constant hiring stream costs the City many times over what it would cost to just give the Officers here the steps they have more than earned.
    Now it’s crunch time squared, and you want to further alienate the very people who are suppose to put their lives on the line for you?!?!?! Really? Sad that the conniving, greedy, unconscionable, and uncaring will make decisions that the majority will be effected by with little regard for the very majority they are suppose to represent.
    Thank you Stephanie for caring enough to bring this up for discussion.

    1. Rob, I like your spirit but question how to accomplish what you propose.
      1. By placing all officers at the step they should be at, do you mean that all officers should get a pay raise? Where will the additional funds come from?
      2. By requiring all new hires live in the City, their cost of living will increase and they will want higher pay. Where will the additional funds come from?
      3. Who in the current APD leadership can accomplish this?

  19. Broch,
    1)Give the Police their own fund. Seperate it from the General fund where money goes from place to place and never seems to go where it is needed. It was that way before, why did it change I wonder?
    The time has come to actually cut the fat off this City. To many people behind desks doing nothing, while they have a City cell phone and maybe even a City vehicle and a credit card as well. Wake up Council and Mayor.
    2) the Police Foundation and a major bank need to team up and offer Officers quality rates on foreclosures. It gives the Officers a home they can afford, makes them have a stake in the community making them safer, and puts people in the multitude of empty houses around town.
    3)now you have hit the million dollar question!!! This City, and the department, need a true leader. Someone who has the best interest of the department and the citizens at heart. Someone who wants to leave a lasting legacy instead of……., I digress. I don’t think the current group has this. For too long they have allowed the Council and Mayor to run the department into the ground without standing up for it. To say someone from within could change things is like saying Norwood would have done great as a Mayor when she didn’t demand change as a Council person (not to get off topic there).

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