The following information has been provided by PLEA Treasurer/Chief Negotiator Will Buividas.
On October 9, 2013, the City of Phoenix sent out a citywide email in regards to the proposed recommendations the City Council’s Pension Spiking sub-committee has made. Let me clear up one item. These are only recommendations; no changes have been made. The City cannot unilaterally change pensionable compensation. They alsocannot change the MOU mid-contract! The Phoenix Police Pension Board which myself and Lt. Stan Hoover are your elected representatives on, is the only entity that determines what is included as pensionable compensation. The City Council and PLEA both do not make that determination.
This emotionally charged debate is concerning to myself and the rest of the PLEA Board. These benefits have be negotiated and promised over decades, often in exchange for lower salaries and other benefits. Right now there are more questions than answers. I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell each of you what to expect over the next year, but I can’t. There are many legal issues surrounding this matter, which will take months to research to determine if any of the proposed reductions are legal. As you may know, we have a Constitutional protection to not “diminish” any pension benefits and also have protections under the federal contract clause. It is still unknown whether it would even be legal to change the promised benefits to current employees.
All I can tell you is DO NOT panic. DO NOT make any rash decisions. There have been no changes made today and there will not be any changes made for several more months. So please, DO NOT go into DROP prematurely or put in your retirement paperwork before you are ready. If changes do occur in the future, notice will be provided and you will have an opportunity to determine what makes financial sense for you and your family.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions that you may have.