DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Police & Fire Pension Board held an emergency meeting Thursday morning to talk about possible action regarding policies and payments. The key issue addressed behind closed doors was whether or not to let police officers and firefighters withdraw money from their DROP accounts.
Before the meeting ended, the board had decided to reinstate monthly DROP withdrawals.
The DROP accounts are retirement accounts with a fixed interest rate. Back in the 1990s, the city and pension board agreed to give police officers and firefighters the option to put their pension money into these high-interest accounts. But now, officials with the city have said that these accounts are going to cause the pension fund to fail.
Earlier this month, under pressure from the city, the pension board voted to freeze all withdrawals. That included some small monthly withdrawals on which retired police officers like Joe Dunn rely.
“They cut my income by about 60 percent a month,” Dunn said. “That’s a lot of money. I’m glad I didn’t have my mother in the nursing home, I was depending on that money for, or I wouldn’t be paying the nursing home bills, because I couldn’t afford it. Even cutting off the monthly dispersals, it’s hurt me.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings put out a video on Wednesday explaining his plan to save the pension fund, but it was not received very well by many officers and firefighters at the Thursday meeting.
“We are here to beg you for our own money,” retired police officer Dale Erves told the pension board on Thursday. “That’s not right. Our kids are suffering. We’ve got medical conditions. Somebody got to be held responsible.”
The pension board decided to reinstate the monthly withdrawals during Thursday’s emergency meeting. But this only applies to those who were signed up for the monthly withdrawals prior to November. Police officers and firefighters are no longer able to sign up for the monthly withdrawals.