National politics, political legacies, & the Jacksonville pension debate – Florida Politics (blog)
Steve Zona, the head of the Jacksonville branch of the Fraternal Order of Police, got some backup over the holiday weekend from leaders of the state and national FOP in the biggest debate his union has had in some time.
They conveyed a clear message: the FOP has support in what looks to be a protracted period of collective bargaining with the city of Jacksonville.
“President Zona, thanks for filling me in on the details of your pension issue, I agree it is an issue of national concern and the 325,000 members stand with our Brothers and Sisters in Jacksonville,” wrote Jay McDonald, National FOP Vice President on Zona’s Facebook page.
State FOP President Robert Jenkins, meanwhile, offered a similar message of support.
What this all means: perhaps for the first time in the Lenny Curry administration (unless one wants to count the professional opponents and proponents of expansion of the Human Rights Ordinance who came to Jacksonville earlier in 2015), the Republican mayor is going to face national pressure to cave on his unprecedented plan to move all newly hired Jacksonville city employees to defined contribution plans.
Curry has some national backup, of course: central among that, the Koch Brothers’ front group Americans for Prosperity, which has set up a landing page saying that it’s “time to fix Jacksonville” in the light of the $2.85 billion debt caused by the “broken pension system.”
The page is intended to generate emails of support of Curry’s plan; thus far, despite publicity for the page in local news outlets, the emails received haven’t broken the server.
One interesting email generated from the page: that of fire union head Randy Wyse, who sent the same four paragraph form email everyone else did. When we asked him about it, he said that he was unable to erase the pre-populated message from