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Mayor Brown Promises Pension Reform To Be Complete This Year

6:41 PM, Jan 12, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Alvin Brown said he is turning his full attention to pension reform and promises it will be complete this year in time for the next city budget.

Brown said it was the logical next step that began with cutting $58 million in his first budget, then passing government reform.

"Pension reform is going to happen. It's unsustainable, it's going to happen," said Brown.

The city is spending more than $100 million a year on city pensions and the sum is continually increasing.

"It is about making sure that we are fair in the process; we do what is right for the city employees, because they love their city, care about the city, believe in the city, and what is right for  the taxpayers...," he said.

The city and the Fraternal Order of Police just reached a contract deal after two and half years of negotiations. Pensions were not a part of that, but reform will affect police and other city employees.

"People understand these are tough economic times...We want to make sure we can attract the best and brightest city employees and keep them. We need to work together and make sure we are fair, do it right, what makes sense for the city,"  said Brown.

FOP Nelson Cuba said he just wants pensions of current city employees to be protected.

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"Our goal is to make sure that a promise should be a promise kept, all we are asking is when these officers were hired, this was the promise that was made, let's keep that promise," said Cuba.

"Moving forward, if you change, whatever those benefits are for future employees, then they understand what that promise is. If they don't like it, they don't have to take the job."

Previous plans for pension reform under former Mayor John Peyton called for more years working before a city worker could retire with a full pension.

It also called for a reduced guaranteed increase in the pension over time, compared to what city employees now receive. The mayor's office is reviewing that plan.

First Coast News

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