published Friday, April 4th, 2014

Moody's mentions Chattanooga's fire and police pension reform

A national credit ratings firm praised Chattanooga in a weekly report for reducing the city's unfunded liability through the fire and police pension reform.

In Moody's Investors Service's weekly credit outlook, the report outlines how Chattanooga officials cut rising pension costs and officials estimate the city's pension liability will shrink by $86 million.

In March, the City Council approved the reform that will hike public safety employees contributions by nearly 40 percent, decrease retirees cost of living adjustments and save the city an estimated $227 million over the next 25 years.

The reforms were birthed from six months of debate by Mayor Andy Berke's appointed task force made up of law enforcement, union and business leaders. Berke created the task force last July to study how to rein in the city's $150 million unfunded liability.

"The reforms were achieved through a collaborative effort between the city, police and fire employee groups, community members, and the board of the Fire and Police Pension Fund," the report states. "Still, the city could face litigation over the changes, in part because Tennessee law prohibits changes to vested accrued benefits."

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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