published Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Chattanooga firefighters and police officers balk at latest pension proposal

The fire and police pension board hold a board meeting days after Police Chief Bobby Dodd and his command staff stated that they will retire. There has been a significant increase in the number of public service employees retiring this year.
The fire and police pension board hold a board meeting days after Police Chief Bobby Dodd and his command staff stated that they will retire. There has been a significant increase in the number of public service employees retiring this year.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

During today's Fire and Police Pension Board meeting, firefighters and officers balked at the latest round of cuts Mayor Andy Berke's task force is considering.

Fire Capt. David Brooks, who is on the task force, presented a piece of paper that detailed possible cuts to the audience of firefighters and officers. The news prompted loud comments and employees snapping photos of the plan on their cellphones.

Details of the proposal include:

• New hires wouldn't be eligible to retire until age 58; currently there is no age requirement.

• All employees would see their pension contributions increase from 8 percent to 13 percent. Several officers and firefighters called this a drastic pay cut.

Brooks said this was the latest scenario that members of the task force were handed on Tuesday.

The task force has been commissioned by Berke to find a way to address $150 million in unfunded liability to the pension fund. This week, Berke extended the deadline to reach a consensus to Jan. 31.

Read tomorrow's Times Free Press for complete details.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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