Councilman Says Trust Is An Issue In Mayor’s Pension Proposal

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(Memphis) It's a matter of trust. That's why one member of the Memphis City Council says it needs an outside opinion on how to solve the city's pension crisis.

The mayor says the city's current pension plan will bankrupt the city, but not everyone agrees.

The council believes bringing in yet another expert is worth the city's investment.

"We don't know the questions to ask. If you're going to have brain surgery, you want a brain surgeon," said Councilman Harold Collins. "If you want accurate information on how to solve Memphis' pension problems, hire your own financial experts."

That's what Collins wants, because predictions from Mayor Wharton's administration and the unions don't match up.

Collins said, "Somebody has to be wrong."

Collins wants an independent firm to look at Wharton's plan to blow up the current pension system because the council and unions are skeptical about the numbers and threats.

Collins said, "Don't play games with me, that if we don't do this deal today, it's going to blow up in our face and then low and behold we find out that it's not going to blow up in your face."

Whether you work for the city or just live in it, Councilman Collins says you'll be affected by the pension plan and that's why he says its so important to get the problem solved now.

"You're looking at possibly a reduction in services. Some outsourcing of city services and increase in your property tax to fund this liability," said Collins.

The firefighters' union hired its own financial experts months ago. Those experts used the same set of numbers as the city, but came up with a different answer.

"The bottom line is, you can't sit out here and promise these employees they're going to be able to retire with dignity after so many years, then pull it out from under them," said Thomas Malone with the Memphis Fire Fighters Association.

City council plans on talking about all this next Tuesday.

Collins estimates the cost of hiring an outside firm would cost between $15,000 to $25,000.

However, he said already one firm has offered to do the work for free.

Click here to see the mayor's pension plan and here to see the Memphis Fire Fighters' website called City of Memphis Pension: The FACTS."


  • Nonya Bidness

    Here it comes all you Memphis City employees! The politicians you keep electing have spent all of your retirement money trying to keep themselves in positions of power. As soon as it looks like the city is about to fold they will head to bankruptcy court and your pension will get flushed down the toilet.

    But next year you will show up in droves to elect the same people that have fleeced you of your retirement. SUCKERS. You’ll be 65 and living on the streets. Keep up the good work at the poles!

  • Joe

    Exorbitant promises made by politicians—-what a shocker…..

    the truth? yeah the pension plans are too fat….never should have been promised

    so its back to reality, city employees…..especially for fire and police

    stop whining about promises…….a promise made under unrealistic projections is a pipe dream

    Wharton sees the number….and the future…..people there’s no free beer

  • PC

    Click on “here” above and check out the true facts on the fire fighters website under myths and answers to get the TRUTH. And good luck with that 70 year old firefighter carrying you from your burning house or the 65 year old cop chasing down the perp that just raped or killed your family member. There is a reason certain professions require a pension plan. That’s my opinion.

  • Claire H

    City government is a mess. Too many of our local government officials are dirty or incompetent. There are too many appointed jobs. City officials need to quit hiring friends and friends of friends and hire qualified people. They give too much money to projects in the city—–buy stadiums that we cannot afford. It is time to tighten the belt. City employees have paid into their pensions and deserve to receive their pensions. This was a promise that was made when they were hired.

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