published Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Chattanooga: City Council fails to approve police chief’s contract


by Cliff Hightower

The Chattanooga City Council failed tonight to approve a deal to hire current Police Chief Freeman Cooper, who is retiring, as contracted employee for three years.

But the issue could come up at the next council meeting.

The council stalemated tonight in a 4-4 tie, with Councilwoman Sally Robinson absent, but the chairman or vice chairman could bring up the measure again next week, when Mrs. Robinson is expected to be present.

“It boils down to this, we’ve got a good police chief, we’ve got a good team and I want to keep it together as long as my tenure lasts,” Mayor Ron Littlefield told council members today.

The council heard details about the contract today as they went over the agenda before the committee meetings. Chief Cooper has announced his intention to retire on March 31.

The mayor is proposing to keep the chief on for the remainder of the mayor’s term at his current salary of $116,822 annually. Chief Cooper also would be able to draw a retirement pension and a retirement bonus.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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InspectorBucket said...

"The mayor is proposing to keep the chief on for the remainder of the mayor’s term at his current salary of $116,822 annually. Chief Cooper also would be able to draw a retirement pension and a retirement bonus."

What in the world?

$350,000?

Give the chief a fruit basket and send him on his way.

March 23, 2010 at 7:24 p.m.
Salsa said...

Why did the Chief and Mayor Littlefield wait until the last minute to announce that he was going to retire in just a few days on March 31?

This is obviously something they have known about for a while yet they seem to have waited until the last minute to try to ram it through.

March 23, 2010 at 9:03 p.m.
Rezsia said...

This is another idiot move by Littlefield. Why in the world (or hell) should we pay a person that's leaving his job? If he wants the money he can wait 3 more years to retire.

We don't have the money to fix our schools, sewers, or fund the library!

March 23, 2010 at 10:52 p.m.
sideviews said...

This highlights how costly and outrageous the police and fire pension system has become. It encourages people we want to keep on staff to retire. It hurts the quality of our police force. And it costs the city millions of dollars of extra money every year beyond what comparable workers get in the private sector. Police officers can retire before age 50 with 65 percent of their pay with city-paid health benefits -- even though the city hasn't reserved any money for those post-retirement health benefits. Many, if not most, of Chattanooga's police and firemen will be paid retirement benefits longer than they work for the city. After they "retire" from the city, most remain healthy enough to go on and do other security jobs, and then quality for social security benefits and other pensions. At a time when most private sector employees have lost any defined benefit pension plans -- and employer contributions to programs like 401(k) are declining -- I don't think Chattanooga can continue to grant a retirement plan so rich to persons after only 25 years of work. We certainly shouldn't have ever raised the salary upon which the pension is based to include higher-level police positions like for Chief Cooper, as was done in 2000. We were told then that the those changes wouldn't cost the city any more money. But the city's costs for the police and fire pension fund has since tripled.

March 24, 2010 at 6:29 a.m.
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