Fire union won't talk to city about pension

Mayor's office calls current growth of pension contributions unsustainable

Published On: Dec 27 2012 05:36:25 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 27 2012 07:19:17 PM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Mayor Alvin Brown sent his negotiators to talk about pension reform with the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, but the union says they need to talk to someone else.

In a meeting with the fire union on Thursday, an attorney for the mayor pointed to projections of revenue and diminished earnings from Pension Fund investments -- a system the city say is unsustainable and needs to change.

"We’re trying to see if we can move into the future, and not only Local 122, but around the city that we can deal with the future as it’s going forth," said Derrel Chatmon, deputy of labor and employment for the Jacksonville Office of General Counsel.

The fire union president says the mayor needs to talk to the pension board, not the union.

"We’re at fork in road. (The) city isn’t willing to negotiate with Police and Fire Pension Fund... then they’ve going to figure out who they’re going to go with," said Randy Wyse, president of the JAFF. "We feel if we negotiate the pension benefits, we violate the settlement agreement.  We don’t want to violate the settlement agreement, so we feel that’s the only path they have, is to go talk to the (Pension Fund)."

The union president says they’re willing to continue talking with the city about employee benefits but says pension reform has to go through the Police and Fire Pension Fund.