Yesterday, after several hours of discussion, the City Council took no action regarding pension spiking. While some in the media and many City employees are stating this is the end of the matter, we can assure you this fight has just begun. A closer look at the meeting yesterday reveals several key facts:
– The first motion which failed was made by Thelda Williams. Bill Gates, Sal DiCiccio, and Jim Waring voted against it because they thought it was too weak (didn’t stop enough “spiking”). Mike Nowakowski and Mike Johnson voted against it because they felt it went too far.
– The second motion that failed would have sent this issue to negotiations and allowed both the employees and the City to come to a mutual resolution and would not have mandated an end to “spiking”. Only three Council Members voted for this motion.
– Per the City Attorney, only two motions were able to be heard. We know that other Council Members, including Sal DiCiccio, wanted to propose additional motions for the Council to vote on. We also know that Sal wanted to propose a motion to stop counting any items he determines are “spiking” from your pension.
As you can tell, this matter will come back up to the Council very quickly. There are clearly the votes to do “something”. At this point we just don’t know what that “something” is.
The City Retirement System sent a letter to the City Council stating they believe it is illegal to change any promised benefit to a current employee and changes can only be made to new hires. They also advised that if the Council attempts to change promised benefits to current employees, to be prepared for expensive litigation which the City would likely lose.
This is where we currently stand as of Wednesday, October 23 at 1530 hours. As you can see this issue is changing by the day. Again, DO NOT make any rash decisions. Any changes would have to go through negotiations and would probably end up in litigation. This is the very beginning of a long process. This battle is not going away and was not “won” last night by any means. It is going to be a long process, but PLEA is willing to go that distance to protect your pensions.