Memphis City Council talks pension

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s been talked about, debated, but still not settled on how to fix Memphis’ ailing pension plan.

Now Memphis city council members will hear recommendations from experts they brought in from the Segal Company.

“We’ve been hearing we need to change the pension plan immediately, but I’ve been hearing from other people who say you don’t need to do that,” Memphis City Council Member Harold Collins said.

The City Council, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and labor unions have been at odds over just how “in the red” the city’s pension really is right now.

It’s been tacked at anywhere between 300 to 600 million dollars.

An accurate picture is crucial as the city decides how to move forward.

“I thought that if we had our own set of independent eyes, then we could get a number that wouldn’t be biased so to speak. No one would have a dog in the fight,” Collins said.

Police Union President Mike Williams says police officers are anxiously awaiting what the council will do with employee health care and retirement, since many officers join the force because of the benefits.

“This city has not even opened up Social Security for these officers. So they have to look at the impact. What’s going to happen to them if they are injured? What’s going to happen if they are killed in the line of duty?” Williams said.

The Segal Company report can impact how much the city puts into the pension program, where the money will come from, and how much more taxpayers may have to pay.

This comes as the city is under state orders to keep up with its annual pension plan contributions to make sure the money is there for people who need it.

That city council meeting starts at 5 p.m.

We are told there won’t be a lot of discussion on changing the city pension to a 401 K type plan.

That may be discussed at another time.