Brown Responds to Civic Council Retirement Reform Move

October 21, 2014 3 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The following letter was sent in response to the Civic Council's communication to the City Council, apparently in an attempt to go around the Mayor's office to pitch policy directly to the Council. One gathers that the Mayor is unamused.

Dear Council Members:
This afternoon, you apparently received a copy of the attached letter from the Jacksonville Civic Council.
As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
Had the Jacksonville Civic Council (JCC) presented their letter to us before distributing it, we would have been happy to correct some of its factual errors. For example:
·         Contrary to the JCC’s assertion that “The COLA rate should be lowered,” the proposed agreement cuts the COLA rate in half for new employees.

·         Contrary to the JCC’s assertion that “the guaranteed rate of return for the DROP program should be eliminated or greatly reduced,” the proposed agreement eliminates the guaranteed DROP rate of return for current employees and abolishes DROP entirely for new employees.

·         Contrary to the JCC’s assertion that “the proposed deal falls short because it fails to implement the governance suggestions recommended by the Mayor’s Retirement Reform Task Force,” the proposed agreement in fact implements virtually all of the governance suggestions of the Jacksonville Retirement Reform Task Force.

But don’t just take our word for it. Pew Charitable Trusts, the highly regarded and independent non-profit which served as the consultant to the seventeen community leaders who served on the Jacksonville Retirement Reform Task Force, thoroughly analyzed the proposal and concluded as follows:

“Taking into account the changes from the original recommendations, this agreement represents substantial long-term savings to the City, achieves the new plan design recommended by the Task Force, commits Jacksonville to a disciplined funding approach, and includes virtually all of the governance recommendations. Pew’s analysis is that this proposal contains the vast majority of the Task Force’s recommendations and offers a comprehensive solution to Jacksonville’s public safety pensions.”

A copy of the Pew analysis is attached.
We look forward to meeting with Council members at tomorrow’s Committee of the Whole meeting to walk you through the proposed agreement – a comprehensive solution which will save taxpayers at least $1.5 billion, makes significant pension changes for both current and future employees, and implements key governance reforms at the Police and Fire Pension Fund.  
Thanks very much.