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Nutter's pension bill has little support


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  • Nutter's pension bill has little support

    Nutter's pension bill has little support
    Mon Oct 19, 2009

    By Jeff Shields and Marcia Gelbart

    Inquirer Staff Writers
    City Council has no plans, according to key members, to pass Mayor Nutter's legislation creating a cheaper pension plan for new employees, leaving Nutter to negotiate lower pension costs without a powerful piece of leverage.

    Under the proposal he put forth in the spring, new city workers would join a hybrid plan that combines guaranteed pension benefits with a public-sector version of a 401(k). Nutter's five-year plan depends on saving $25 million a year in union wages and benefits.

    In June, Councilman Darrell L. Clarke introduced a bill on Nutter's behalf that would codify the mayor's proposals and remove a contentious subject from the bargaining table and make it a matter of law.

    But Clarke, the Democratic majority whip, and some Council members said they were surprised to see similar language in a state Senate bill during the budget debate. The provisions were inserted into legislation that authorized the city to increase the sales tax and defer payments to the pension fund.

    The city's municipal unions successfully lobbied against the provision, but the fight held up legislation the city needed desperately to implement its budget.

    Now, Council is in no mood to inject itself into labor negotiations.

    "Administrations have always asked us to stay out of negotiations," Clarke said Friday. "We're right in it if we pass that bill."

    Clarke's opinion counts. Not only is he responsible for marshaling support for legislation, it is up to him to request a hearing for the bill. Clarke said he would not request a hearing or would request one as a necessary procedural step for the purpose of withdrawing the bill.

    Republican Brian J. O'Neill, the minority leader, sees little or no support for the bill.

    "I don't think, legislatively, we should be involved in the administration and unions' negotiations, any more than the state Senate should have been," O'Neill said. "Not only am I not supportive of it, I don't think anyone on Council is."

    The mayor is aware of Council's resistance to the legislation, his spokesman, Doug Oliver, said.

    "But whether or not we agree on the details of the legislation, surely we must all agree that we can't afford the status quo," Oliver said Friday. "We are concerned with the growing impact of pension costs on how the city provides basic services, services that we all expect and deserve. . . . There should be no resistance to finding a way of reducing our pension costs moving forward."

    Contracts between the city and all four of its municipal unions expired June 30, and new contracts likely won't be agreed to until early next year. City negotiators have held few negotiating sessions with District Council 33, which represents blue-collar workers, and with District Council 47, whose members are largely white-collar employees.

    The police union is likely to reach a new deal first, as it is waiting for a decision from a panel of independent arbitrators who have already heard testimony from both the union and city negotiators. The firefighters union, which also settles contracts through arbitration, is set to hold its first hearings before arbitrators next week.

    Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said his union - as well as the other three - believe any change in pension benefits ought to be bargained for in contract talks not through the legislative process.

    In letters and meetings, the police union has asked Council members to reject the effort.

    "I don't know anybody right now who is for it at all," McNesby said. "I believe they understand this is a bargainable issue, and they don't want to get into the way of introducing legislation for this."

    Contact staff writer Jeff Shields at 215-854-4565 or [email protected]

  • #2
    Sounds kinda like the federal FERS plan a little bit.
    Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.


    • #3
      It's the same Plan Carl R.Greene did at PHA.

      He "Carl R. Greene" laid off 350 Union employee's b/c the unions did not back this 401K plan at contract time. So he laid 350 of them and all new hires are under a 401K plan...It's one way of getting rid of Union employees. And they hire young kids making less and doing work for less pay and pension...Have to love them..

      All I can say about People like him..."May the Lord have mercy on his soul".
      " Never judge others unless you truly know them"


      • #4
        Its interesting how City Counsel members were allowed to double dip from the pension fund because of the way the drop rules were written (or lacked in wording) yet the city worker is paying the price having trouble trying to secure a small pension. Its always the little guy that gets screwed.


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