Strickland Worries-Police /Firefighters May Leave

November 7, 2019

 

There is a lead article in this morning’s edition of the CA.The Mayor worries that the recently passed ½ cent sales tax increase may result in police and firefighters may leave due to the $50 million increase in revenue.

I have written extensively in the past about another problem that is directly related to fire and police retirement, and that is the $15 million dollar hole in the pension bucket and that is the rate of LINE OF DUTY RETIREMENT at the city of Memphis compared to Shelby County Government and the MLGW. Following is an article I wrote 8 years ago and posted on memphisshelbyinform.com.

 

Wednesday, Channel 3, reported on the situation of the City of Memphis line of duty abuse to the cost of almost $12 million dollars per year. This situation has been going on for over 30 years at the City of Memphis and I estimate that the total payout is well over $100 million dollars out of the underfunded pension fund. When I alerted Channel 3 about this abuse, they did some great research on the annual cost and some of the people involved including Tennessee Republican Representative Curry Todd and others.

Comparing the 429 listed on the Channel 3 report, the number of line of duty disability retirements at Shelby County government and the MLGW are insignificant. Obviously there is a problem. The immediate problem is that approval or disapproval is given by the City of Memphis pension board made up mostly of the applicants’ co-workers whereas Shelby County turns approval over to an insurance company.

The bigger problem is the line of duty pension ordinance words. There is no provision for finding other work for the line of duty disability applicant, annual reviews or any other provisions that could prove that the applicant can or could do useful work for the city. This must be changed.

 

Recently I sent an open records request to the City of Memphis asking for the annual amount of Line of Duty payouts and they answered that it is $15.7 million dollars and remember that this is tax free to the retirees for life. I sent a similar request to Shelby County and to the MLGW but Shelby County has refused to answer and MLGW has said they are working on the request. In the past Shelby County Line of Duty payments and the MLGW have been 10 times less than the City of Memphis due to strict enforcement policies at the MLGW and at Shelby County a policy of turning over disability request to an outside insurance company.

Mayor Strickland has done a good job of reforming pension policies at the City of Memphis but he needs to reform the Line of Duty granting policies at the Pension Board.

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