Task force plans to meet to discuss pension reform

Thursday meeting begins examining police, fire pension problems

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville's Retirement Reform Task Force is planning a meeting Thursday that they hope will bring them one step closer to ending the fight over pension reform in the city.

In advance of Thursday's meeting Chairman of the task force, Bill Scheu, told Channel 4 that the group will be examining everything from the "unfunded liability of $1.7 billion," to the governance of the Jacksonville police and fire pension fund.

"There are four basic periods: number one, the payment of the unfunded liability of 1.7 billion dollars, how do you reduce that," said Scheu. "Number 2 is the pension design going forward, how do you design a fair but sustainable pension that appreciates the service of police and fire personnel but at the same time doesn't cause the dilution of other city services and huge tax burdens on tax payers."

"Number 3, the investment authority of the Jacksonville police and fire pension fund, what sort of investments should there be invested in or can they be invested in," Scheu added, "and number 4, the governance of the Jacksonville police and fire pension fund. Whether that is (the pension fund), set up correctly to protect the beneficiaries of the pensions, but also the tax payers who ultimately have to pay the fines."

Scheu said the group will be meeting Thursday to consider alternatives and figure out a way to come to an agreement on reforming the pension fund system so that, "it's sustainable over the next several years."

"Most of the meeting is going to be to have the pension task force talk to each other about what direction we should be headed in and from that discussion that will then be cue to narrow the alternatives that they are going to present," said Scheu.

Thursday's meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at City Hall. Scheu said the Retirement Reform Task Force would like to present recommendations to the city by Jan. 21.

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