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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Dec. 9, 201412:00 PM EST

City Council passes pension reform bill, minus a way to pay for it

by: David Chapman

Weeks of talks to hammer out a deal. Weeks of debate about that agreement.

After about 30 minutes of last-minute discussion, City Council passed the majority of a pension reform plan it had altered in the past several weeks. The vote was 16-3 with Kimberly Daniels, Denise Lee and Robin Lumb rejecting the bill.

The deal now heads to the Police and Fire Pension Fund board for approval. That five-member group has a special meeting Wednesday morning. Its regular board meeting is Dec. 19.

But, the deal passed Tuesday night is only two parts of a three-part deal. Governance and benefits are covered under the agreement council voted on – leaving perhaps the trickiest aspect, funding the plan. It was that lack of a funding mechanism to pay down $1.65 billion worth of unfunded liability that Lee and Lumb brought up as reasons for their vote.

Rules Chair Bill Gulliford urged his colleagues to pass it on and come back to the funding issue.

“Folks, we are too close,” he said shortly before the vote.


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