City, pension fund inching toward deal

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two weeks of negotiations between Jacksonville officials and the Police and Fire Pension Fund over a $1.7 billion funding deficit has made some progress.

By Thursday afternoon, all parties are still talking about changes in benefits for current employees. They're close on a deal to increase the retirement contribution of current employees to 10 percent and enhance the fund's investment authority.

But there are three sticking points:

  • Amount of the cost-of-living increase for retirees
  • Changes to deferred retirement option program (DROP
  • Length of term of the pension agreement

The pension fund has agreed to give $100 million over five years to the city to help pay down its debt.

"The board is in favor of comprehensive reform," said Executive Director John Keane. "We put a lot of time and effort in this.  I've been working on it since 2007. I will be glad to get it behind us."

The board adjourned Friday with plans to meet again on Tuesday.

"I'm very optimistic about our progress today; significant progress," Mayor Alvin Brown said.  "We have a few issues that we have to deal with, so we're coming back next week. So we will be able to wrap it up."

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