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- 2014 - January - 21st -

City, pension fund pitching ideas to task force today

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

The group reviewing Jacksonville's pension issues could hear ideas today on how the $1.7 billion — and counting — unfunded liability within public safety pension plans could be addressed.

This month, members of the Jacksonville Retirement Reform Task Force seemed to settle on the idea that the city should make additional annual contributions to more quickly make the fund whole. The fund is about 40 percent funded. Suggesting a tax increase is still a possibility.

Police and Fire Pension Fund Administrator John Keane and Mayor Alvin Brown or city staff are scheduled to address the group after a brief discussion on revised recommendations as to how the fund is governed. Task force Chairman Bill Scheu said Monday that he didn't know what either presentation would include.

The meeting is at 1 p.m. in the Lynwood Roberts Room at City Hall.

Scheu said it's likely Keane will respond to some of the recommended fund governance changes.

"I'm anxious to hear from him (Keane)," Scheu said. "I know they are not going to like all of it, but I hope they like most of it."

One proposed change is the creation of an investment committee to aid the fund. Another is a request for U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger to be an initial special master overseeing the city's contributions, whether the committee is performing its task and if investments are meeting assumptions.

Updates to those proposals include allowing committee members to be from the region instead of just Duval County and that the special master perform an analysis semi-annually instead of quarterly.

Scheu said he does not expect the task force to act on any recommendations today, with the possible exception of the governance changes.

Instead, he said he will push for a delay until the Jan. 29 meeting to allow for the group to soak in the information before it "starts making decisions" on recommendations.

dchapman@baileypub.com

@writerchapman

(904) 356-2466

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