DALLAS (CBS11) – In a preliminary vote Wednesday, the Dallas City Council fully supported proposed changes to the state bill to rescue the police and fire pension fund.
The final vote will come next week.
The council’s move comes a day before the Texas Senate holds a hearing on the legislation.
Senators Royce West and Don Huffines held marathon negotiations.
The compromise worked out is now the basis for amendments to the House bill.
Senator West says some of the associations have signed off on the language of the amendments.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will be at the Capitol for the hearing Thursday morning.
Mayor Rawlings has said the proposed changes are fairer to city taxpayers.
He strongly opposed the original House bill that passed unanimously earlier this month saying it would be too costly to city taxpayers.
The city and some of the associations have described it as a win-win.
But details are still being worked out as of Wednesday evening.
The Dallas Firefighters Association has preliminarily supported the changes.
But the association’s President has said he’s concerned under the proposed changes, it would take longer to fully fund the pension than under the original House bill, 46 years instead of 43.
Four of the 11 police and fire associations aren’t on board with the compromise.
Both the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas and the Dallas Retired Officers Association say they oppose the provision that could allow hundreds of retirees to be forced to give back some money they received from the fund.
The BPA also opposes changes to the governance of a new pension board.
Six board members would be selected by the city and five would be chosen by the police and fire associations.
Any major changes to the pension fund would require a two-thirds vote.
But the BPA says it believes the city and the associations should each select five board members, and an 11th person such as a retired federal judge, agreed to by the different parties, would break a tie vote when necessary.
If the Senate committee approves the pension bill Thursday, it will move to the full Senate.
The House would have to either agree to changes in the Senate bill or both chambers would have to negotiate permanent changes.
The legislative session ends at the end of the month.