Call to Action – Pension Workshop Act 2

There will be a second/follow up Pension Workshop scheduled for this Thursday, April 9th from 11 AM – 2 PM at the Fred Lippman Center on Polk Street.  PLEASE REQUEST TIME OFF OR USE YOUR LUNCH HOUR AND BE THERE BY 11 AM.   Your attendance is important if your pension is an important issue to you.

The first Pension Workshop presentation was designed by Finance Director Matt Lalla and the City’s Pension Attorney James Linn to represent our pension plan in the worst possible light. The so-called “Workshop” essentially became a one-sided and distorted “Presentation” which only presented typical doom and gloom biased information which did not fully and accurately tell ALL the story (e.g., the notorious slide 5 showing the 90% pension benefit which does not exist).

Also, the scare tactic slide showing how many fire and police officers the City could pay for was truly ironic since the Mayor’s letter and these workshops are doing a good job of scaring off actual fire and police officers (6 police and several fire officers just quit).  Several of the commissioners did not buy into the hysteria and wanted to delve further into the discussion, so the second “Workshop” has been set where the General, Police, and Fire pension actuaries will answer questions from the Commission.  Unfortunately, public comment is not allowed, so the Union won’t be allowed time to speak.   However,  it’s important that our members hear first hand what ideas the Mayor and Commission are given in regards to our pension plan.

Our fund has risen to over $300 million dollars and rising. This is our fund, not the Mayor’s, and not any single manager’s personal piggy bank.  We pay 8% per pay towards our pensions.  It takes a lifetime of work to get a decent pension. Since our pension plan was started in 1977, the plan has averaged about 8% over this entire time frame.  The pension is expected to earn about $24 million this year in investment returns.  The benefits to retirees is about $24 million per year. So basically investment returns pay for benefits.

If the City really wants to help the plan, they can start by hiring full time employees to fill many “vacant funded” positions and stop converting positions to part time which does not contribute anything into the plan.

The Mayor and his Finance Director have decided to pit the Citizens of Hollywood against the employees, which many of us are both, citizen-employees.  We need to come together as a political voice to remind everyone that we are the safety net and the fabric of community that the public relies on to provide the foundation of community. We are public servants and deserve fair treatment.

Your support and presence is important. Be there!