I went to the Shelby County pension board meeting today and it was very interesting. Mayor Luttrell was the chairman and there was a large crowd including Joe Ford, the interim mayor that Luttrell just defeated recently. It turns out that Mr. Ford was there to try to get the pension board to approve an increase in his monthly pension from $747.47 to somewhere in the range of $1200 per month.
The facts of the case are that Mr. Ford served on the City Council until 1999 and because he did not qualify for a city pension he was paid a lump sum. Then there was a two year interval until he was appointed to the Shelby County commission where he eventually served as interim Mayor. Now he wants to go back and combine the years of service and get a County pension of about $1200 per month.
The problem is that he has been treated fairly and in accordance with the city pension rules and the County rules. However he wants to change the rules for his particular case. The additional problem is that if the rules are changed for his case, there may be many other people out there with a similar case history and the overall cost of granting his request and similar cases could mount into the millions of dollars. Just his case alone could be well over $250,000 in his life time and that of his heirs.
Eventually Mr. Ford, after the board refused his request, accused the board of prejudice. Mayor Luttrell, to his credit, spoke up and defended the board and their actions which were in accordance with the pension rules.
Mr. Ford threatened a lawsuit if he did not get his request.
There was a long list of legitimate pensions granted and I have attached them so you can get an idea of the ages of the retirees and their pensions. This whole area of defined benefits pensions and retirement after 25 years service regardless of age needs reform and this will be coming up for action by the end of the year.