Lenny Curry: yes to defined contribution, no to FRS – Florida Politics (blog)
In the wake of a contentious negotiation session between the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters and city negotiators, Mayor Lenny Curry called a Tuesday afternoon presser to reiterate his team’s negotiating position on Jacksonville’s pensions.
Essentially, it boils down to a commitment to 401(k)-styled defined contribution plans for new employees. And it rules out the Florida Retirement System.
Curry affirmed his “commitment to public safety workers,” with “budgets that reflect that,” and reaffirmed his vow to “solve the pension crisis once and for all” and get the city “out of the pension business.”
However, the Florida Retirement System — which negotiators from at least some city unions see as an option — is a nonstarter for Curry.
FRS is “out of the city’s control,” Curry said, saying the city “can’t control costs” under the state model.
“It would be very easy for me to travel that road,” Curry said, but that would be “ceding the control of costs to the state.”
Curry also reaffirmed his commitment to the defined contribution model, which led the fire union chief to question if that even qualified as a “pension” in Tuesday’s negotiation.
“My negotiating team expressed my views loud and clear,” Curry said.
Curry vowed to “work together” with labor representatives, saying there already is a “generous offer on the table.”
There has been some disagreement about how generous that offer is.
Curry’s team advanced a 14 percent compensation increase in negotiations with the fire union, which they framed as a 1.8 percent annual raise and called “insulting.”
Curry said he was a “little surprised that was viewed as insulting by leadership,” adding that the rank and file “don’t all feel that way.”
Negotiations with the local Fraternal Order of Police occur Wednesday morning, and it will be interesting to see how that leadership receives Curry’s position.