If approved, the reforms to the
Over 26 years, the changes -- which include hiking employee contributions by 37 percent and reducing cost-of-living allowances for retirees -- is expected to save the city
"This fund was in very poor fiscal shape at the beginning of the process. The benefits promised were unsustainable," said
During Wednesday night's presentation, Kapoor pointed out that a recent state study showed
The meeting took place a month after Berke's 18-member task force reached consensus. It capped six months of heated debate that roiled fire and police ranks and prompted multiple employees to retire early, including Chief
The next steps will be two public forums
A handful of employees braved the weather to attend Wednesday. A few asked why the city held the meeting during extreme conditions, hindering people from attending. Others argued the planned cuts were unfair.
Retirees' automatic cost-of-living adjustments will be reduced from 3 percent to an average of 1.5 percent, and new retirees won't get a COLA adjustment for the first three years.
After several retirees questioned the changes, firefighter
Union leaders and the city have argued that opponents make up a small minority of the public safety employees, and most employees are content with the changes.
After Thompson's question, Berke Chief of Staff Travis McDonough listed the improvements the task force had agreed to, such as raising benefits for employees killed in the line of duty and a bump in some widowers' pay.
"Do you support that,
O'Dell said he did. But he chided the task force for not looking at other options to save money, such as capping employee pensions at a captain's pay. That's when Sgt.
"We're trying to preserve our pension. We're trying to make sure we have a pension when we retire," said Tomisek, who is the president of the local International Brotherhood of Police Officers chapter. The police and firefighters said one of their main goals was to keep the defined-benefit plan and not move to a defined-contribution plan such as a 401(k).
"You're going to contribute a little more to your pension and I'm going to contribute a little more to mine and he's going to contribute a little more to his."
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