FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – The Fort Worth Police Association took its battle to keep its pension to the public. It sent out 15,000 mailers saying a new plan tells police not to risk their lives to save citizens because it’s too expensive.
The FWPA campaign had accompanying phone calls as well. They came just before Tuesday’s consideration by the city council of a plan to cut police pensions in order to help solve a nearly $750 million shortfall in the employee retirement fund.
When asked by CBS11 Monday if the job police do on the streets is really tied to the pension they receive, association president Sgt. Stephen Hall said it was.
“Oh absolutely. Each of us works for a paycheck just like you and every other family that lives in our city.”
The large, full color mailer puts most of the blame on the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. It claims the Chamber wants money saved from police pensions to fund business tax abatements.
Chamber president Bill Thornton was traveling Monday and unavailable to comment. An earlier statement on the organizations website however said “These ever-increasing pension costs have led to service and infrastructure cuts and ultimately will lead to higher taxes.”
The plan recommended by city staff includes eliminating overtime in calculating pension benefits. It also uses the highest five years of base pay to calculate retirement, instead of three.
The police association has its own plan voted on by its membership. It increases the contribution by members to their own pension. A city report completed last week found that increased contribution may not be enough to ever fully fund the plan.
Hall said part of the reason officers agree to work for the pay and under the conditions they do is they know what they are promised at the end of their careers. A change, he said, could change the way they approach their jobs.
“I think what they’re telling us is we’re too expensive and that they need to cut the cost. And they’re not really concerned with the impact that has on the individual officer or his family.”
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