Council Approves Changes For Chattanooga Police and Fire Pension Plan

Reported by: Shawn Lanier
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Updated: 2/26 12:00 am
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) Chattanooga City Council unanimously approved the recommendations for the fire and police pension program in this first reading. The pension board already unanimously approved the Task Force's recommendations last week.

It now looks like 16,000 police officers, firefighters, and retirees in Chattanooga will see changes in their pension program.

Many say they are relieved that an agreement has been reached. Others argue the changes can't happen.

A retired police officer Johnny Frazier said they are not allowed to take away what he was promised according to a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling.

He said Knoxville went through a similar pension problem and was told by the Tennessee Supreme Court said they could not change the pension plan for current and retired police and firefighters.

"They can't do anything to vested or retirees as far as changing the plan to our detriment or anything that would have an adverse effect on us,” said Frazier.

Mayor Andy Berke and the city council are pleased an agreement was reached.

Berke even took the time to address city council before the vote. He pointed out the importance of this decision.

“What you’re going to do tonight by adopting this ordinance is that you will secure the retirement for our pensioners,” said Mayor Berke.

These recommendations are not popular since both sides had a lot to compromise.

Kurt Faires was apart of the Task Force and he too thinks this is good solution.

"No one's going to be satisfied,” said Faires. “For example they had COLAS, Cost Of Living Increases or Adjustments, those will not be as large as they were before, but they will continue to exist."

The Cost-of-living-adjustments are part of the problem since they are not as large as what pensioners were promised.

So preventing larger Cost-Of-Living Increases could possibly break this agreement, but Mayor Berke and the City Council say this is what's needed.

The next step for the opposition is to take the city to court.
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Here2Opine - 2/26/2014 8:54 AM
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Take them to court! You don't give a job w/ retirement perks than take them back. Hope the council & the local politicos are going to reduce their pay & perks. They should only be making what our police & firemen make.
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