Police, firefighters battle back against mayor's behind-the-scenes pension efforts

Police, firefighters battle back against mayor's behind-the-scenes pension efforts

August 7th, 2013 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local - Breaking News

Mayor Andy Berke

Photo by

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's office sent emails to police and firefighter unions asking the members to sign a letter the mayor's office had penned in support of the mayor's task force to study the pension and to criticize their local pension board.

Chattanooga Firefighters Association President Jack Thompson said after talking with the mayor's staff, he received the email from Senior Advisor Stacy Richardson and then got a call demanding the union send the support letter back 30 minutes later.

"It's definitely a concern that they're going to ask us to sign something of that nature," Thompson said. "We're in complete support of the pension board."

The letter first congratulates the mayor for presenting his first budget and then states the union is critical of the Police and Fire Pension Board.

"Clearly, you understand the critical role that public safety plays in our community," the letter sent from the Mayor's office states. "We believe it would be irresponsible for the City to decrease its contribution to the fund and are disappointed by the actions of the Pension Board."

Berke's spokeswoman Lacie Stone said the letter was sent after talking with several local firefighter and police unions that expressed interest in supporting the mayor's task force.