Several Jacksonville Council Members Support Investigation into Pension System

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Earlier this month, Florida state Rep. Janet Adkins sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott calling for an investigation into the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund – specifically, the “questionable practices and possible mismanagement” of its DROP fund.

Now, several members of the Jacksonville City Council say would support such an investigation and are planning on writing to Gov. Scott as well.

From the Florida Times-Union:

Councilman Bill Gulliford said he sent Scott a letter last week asking him to take a “hard look” into the pension fund’s practices. Councilman Bill Bishop and Council President Clay Yarborough said they plan to send letters to Scott, as well.

[…]

In October, the Times-Union reported how the pension fund ignored findings by the City Council Auditor’s Office and city lawyers that the pension fund incorrectly applied regulations for participation in DROP. The Times-Union found that three individuals who entered DROP will collectively receive about $1.8 million more than they would under strict interpretation of the code.

“You have members of the public and taxpayers asking leaders how they can get away with this,” Yarborough said. “I don’t have a good answer for them.”

When asked Monday what they thought of Adkin’s call for a state investigation, many council members said they supported the idea.

“I think it’s a worthwhile exercise,” said Councilman John Crescimbeni. “I think the taxpayers have a right to know whether there’s any waste or fraud.”

Other council members say they don’t support an investigation, or remained non-committal:

Councilman Jim Love said a state investigation may be “overkill”, while Councilman Richard Clark said it would serve as a distraction to the city’s attempt at pension reform.

“It puts a bad taste in my mouth,” Clark said. “I don’t know what it solves by accusing them of something. We need to solve our pension issues. We need to solve them in a fashion that’s constructive.”

Councilwoman Denise Lee said she didn’t “really have an opinion on it,” and Councilman Robin Lumb said he had no comment.

Mayor Alvin Brown’s office didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.

The Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund is currently deciding whether to approve the city’s pension reform measure, which was passed by the City Council earlier this month.

 

Photo by  pshab via Flickr CC License

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