Police, fire unions: City is 'crying wolf' over financial crisis - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police, fire unions: City is 'crying wolf' over financial crisis

Posted: Updated:
Williams says the city administration is manufacturing a crisis in order to make cuts to their employee pension plan. Williams says the city administration is manufacturing a crisis in order to make cuts to their employee pension plan.
Police and fire unions have commissioned independent studies that they say prove the city is crying wolf over a financial crisis. Police and fire unions have commissioned independent studies that they say prove the city is crying wolf over a financial crisis.

(WMC-TV) - Memphis police are fighting for their own safety and trying to secure their pension plans. Also, they are not the only public servants in the city questioning their retirement options.

Memphis leaders said the city's current pension plan is not sustainable without an increase in taxes or cuts in services.

Police and fire unions have commissioned independent studies that they say prove the city is crying wolf over a financial crisis.

"Our pension plan is sound, it has $2.1 billion in it," said Memphis Police Association president Michael Williams.

Williams says the city administration is manufacturing a crisis in order to make cuts to their employee pension plan.

"Even though they haven't contributed what they were supposed to contribute and we have brought an additional $500 million to the table, for some reason they always want to say it is the employees that are the problem," he said.

Memphis Chief Administrative officer George Little says police and fire unions are looking out for their membership as they should be, but he says they underestimate the long-term consequences of funding pensions.

"As we look at the numbers, we see a widening gap in terms of what we would owe our current retirees and well as future retirees under the plan," said Little.

The difference of opinion is also a widening gap.

On Friday, city leaders will meet with both the police and fire unions to hopefully try to work out their differences.

"What we'd like to walk away with at least is an understanding of exactly where we differ, forget about the philosophical differences ... Lets get down to the numbers," said Little.

That meeting will also include the actuaries who compiled those independent studies to make sure everyone is speaking the same financial language. Little says the city hopes to at least have a public discussion about the issue by early next month.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow