CHATTANOOGA,Tenn. (UTC/ The loop) — Chattanooga City Council okay’d the fire and police pension plan on Tuesday of last week following months of negotiations.
Mayor Andy Berke stood before the council and attendees addressing recent issues with the pension while ensuring changes will be made to the plan.
“We couldn’t look someone in the eyes and promise what was going to happenin the future, ” said Berke. “By adopting these changes we will actually be able to look these people in the eyes and say ‘ you are going to actually receive the benefits you expect’.”
Berke said the city can expect three things from the pension plan:
- A more motivated work force
- It will attract quality employees
- Show our responsibility to the tax payers
Some citizens of Chattanooga are not so sure that this will be true for pensioners. Retired police Sgt. Kirk Salter has been fighting this pension since the beginning.
” I’m a firecracker and I’m not through with them yet,” said Satler. ” Travis McDonald and Andy Berke are no friends to public safety.”
Although the Chattanooga City Council has passed this plan, there are several steps to go through before the pension plan will actually be put into play.
Knoxville City Council has shut down the same pension plan that Mayor Berke has suggested for Chattanoogan’s. President of the Firefighter’s Association of Knoxville, Kevin Faddis, has made his opinion on the pension plan very clear and plans to continue to do so in hopes that cities like Chattanooga will listen.
“We have made concessions, we will continue to make SOME concessions,” said Faddis. ” We dont do what we do for money, obviously. But we would like to at least retire with some dignity.”
He said he has worked for the city of Knoxville for over 18 years and has no plans for retiring anytime soon, but hopes this can be resolved before his time with the department comes to an end.
Faddis thinks there are ways to fix these problems and cutting pensions is not the answer.” They certainly could cut non essential projects, ” he said.
While the city may be in a large amount of debt, is cutting pensions the right way to go?
“You pay for a service (taxes) it may not be tangible for all at once, ” Faddis said, “but I can assure you, when citizens need us, we are there. No matter what.”