Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke accepts recommendation from Pension Task Force

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke accepts recommendation from Pension Task Force

January 9th, 2014 by Staff Report in Local - Breaking News

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, surrounded by police and firefighter union leaders, announces an agreement concerning the police and firefighters pension plan today at the Fraternal Order of Police headquarters on Holtzclaw Ave. in this file photo.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, surrounded by police and...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Document: Task Force Consensus Recommendation

A document indicating recommendations subject to legal and actuarial review.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke today accepted a consensus recommendation from the Pension Task Force for reforms to the Fire & Police Pension Fund, pending review by the city's actuary and legal counsel, a city news release states.

The recommendation does not decrease monthly pension checks for retirees. Based on initial estimates, the Pension Task Force believes their recommendations will save taxpayers approximately $4 to $5 million annually and will ensure the fund is financially healthy for retirees in coming years, the news release states.

"I have reviewed the recommendation, and I am confident this is a strong set of benefits that will reach our shared goals for the Fire & Police Pension Fund," Berke said in the release.

The reforms include:

-- 100% benefits for public safety employees killed in the line of duty (31.25% increase);

-- An increase in benefits payable to elderly widows of public safety employees, currently received only $500 per month;

-- Sustained, yet cost-neutral, DROP benefit;

-- Temporary reconfiguration of the COLA structure so that those employees who receive the lowest pension benefits receive a higher COLA; and

-- Increased employee contributions phased in gradually over the next three years.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press/