GOOD MORNING PATRIOTS!!!
First some of you may have noticed that the office has not been open as much since our Office Manager left us just after the election. Until January 2nd we are on “Holiday” and if you would like or have a need to go to the office please call 398-3945 for an appointment.
Once the New Year has arrived we will decide on new hours of operation and communicate accordingly.
There are many issues in our world which need to be addressed. I will be sharing via email those that need immediate action and can be handled via emails, fax or phone calls. Our President is busy with his regulations and empowerment of key offices that wish to turn our America upside down.
We are also keeping our eye on things at the State and Local levels. Below I will do my best to explain a meeting at City Hall currently scheduled for January 4th which demands our presence.
Lastly I would like to share that we have not stopped working. We have asked for and received input from our Community Groups and longtime FCTP Patriots related to the future of the organization. We have all concluded that while our basic values and beliefs have not changed there is a need to make a positive shift in our thinking as the world around us has changed dramatically. We will be sharing our new direction with you in the very near future.
We see so much work to do and will prioritize that work based on available resources. The more involvement we have the more we will be able to accomplish. I will say it this way: It takes teamwork to make the dream work. “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” V. Lombardi. Vince was one of the greatest coaches in football history. Why? Because he believed in winning and he taught his team to work together to win. “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”
SAVE THE DATE: JANUARY 4th, 2013
THE ISSUE/THE QUESTION:
Should City Council, our elected officials, have any control over the administrative costs (buying cars, salaries, legal costs) of the Police and Fire pension fund (PFPF)? Or should it be decided only by the 5 Board of Trustees of the pension fund with no oversight?
There are 2 pensions for city employees: the General Pension Fund and the Police and Fire Pension Fund. Both of these Funds have separate staffs. Although serving on ½ as many people, the costs of the PFPF are double the General pension Fund. It is the position of the PFPF that they can spend money on administrative costs without oversight of the City Council. (Kind of like the Fox guarding the hen house.)
The PFPF was set up in 1992 by an act of the Florida Legislature, at the request of OUR Duval County state legislators. It was over the objection of our City Council who did not want to do this. Now, an independent PFPF is set up in our city Charter, Article 22. In order to get more oversight over the PFPF administrative costs, our Jax City Charter has to be amended by the Florida Legislature. But first, it goes through our state legislators. THIS WILL COME UP AS AN ISSUE ON JANUARY 4th in CITY HALL.
The City Council passed a bill, 2012-116 recommending a “J-Bill” on this. (The “No” votes on this were by Council members Brown, Daniels, Jones and Carter.) A J-Bill is one that has to go to Tallahassee after first being approved by the local legislators. But first, it needs to be approved by our local state legislators. This J-Bill is attached. It basically says the City Council will have 3 (instead of 2) appointees to the Board of the PFPF and also, that they have input and oversight on the budget of the administrative costs of the Fund. For every dollar saved on the pension fund administrative costs, it is a dollar saved on the debt owed to the fund the retiree’s pensions.
WHAT THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION DOES:
• Enables Jacksonville City Council to appoint 3 of 5 members of the board of trustees of the PFPF. (1 member is appointed by Jacksonville’s firemen, and 1 by employees of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.)
• Obliges the PFPF board of trustees to create an annual budget, and submit same to the City Council and the Mayor of Jacksonville for approval, concerning administrative costs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Call state reps: Ask that they support J-Bill1, oversight on the Police and Fire Pension Fund administrative costs.
2. Attend the January 4th meeting: This bill comes up at 1PM; comments on it right afterwards. All you have to do is show up around 12:45 on January 4th at City Hall and fill out a speaker card, or if you do not want to speak in support of this bill then have your presence known by filling the seats.
Understand that this issue is not about the handling of the Police and Fire Pension Fund but of the administrative costs of a board that oversees the fund. This Fund receives its operating revenue from you the taxpayer and there are issues which are being seriously questioned.
The following is provided as background should you wish a greater understanding of the concerns that need to be raised and addressed by the taxpayers.
Attachments: J-Bill:( This is the actual proposed bill)
A bill to be entitled
An act relating to the Charter of the City of Jacksonville, as established in Chapter 67-1320, and recodified in Chapter 92-341, Laws of Florida, all as amended; amending Section 22.02 (Membership) of Article 22 (Jacksonville Police and Fire Board of Trustees) of the Charter of the City of Jacksonville to provide that three members instead of two shall be appointed by the City Council, and eliminating the trustee elected member; amending section 22.04 (General Powers) to obligate the Jacksonville Police and Fire Board of Trustees to create and submit an annual budget to the Mayor and City Council, clarifying that the City Council may review, modify and approve that portion of the budget relating to administrative costs, and striking language therein appearing to grant unspecified powers to the Trustees; providing an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Article 22 (Jacksonville Police and Fire Board of Trustees), Section 22.02 (Membership) of the Charter of the City of Jacksonville is amended to read as follows:
ARTICLE 22. JACKSONVILLE POLICE AND FIRE PENSION BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
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Section 22.02. - Membership.
(a) The membership of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Board of Trustees shall consist of five members, of whom two three shall be legal residents of the City of Jacksonville appointed by the city council; one shall be a police officer elected by a majority vote of the police officers who are members of the pension fund, and one shall be a firefighter elected by a majority of the firefighters who are members of the pension fund, and the last shall be chosen by a majority of the previous four members. The fifth member's name shall be submitted to the City Council, which shall, as a ministerial act, appoint such person as the fifth member of the board. Effective for all new appointments after July 1, 2005, each resident member shall serve as a trustee for a period of 4 years, unless sooner replaced by the City Council at whose pleasure he or she shall serve, and may succeed himself or herself as a trustee. Effective for all elections after July 1, 2005, the police officer and firefighter members shall serve as trustees for a period of 4 years, unless they shall sooner leave the employment of the city as a police officer or firefighter, whereupon the class of employees whose elected representative has left office shall elect a successor to fill the unexpired term of office as provided for in this section. Each employee member may succeed himself or herself in office. Effective for all new appointments after July 1, 2005, the fifth member shall serve a term of 4 years and may succeed himself or herself in office. Members shall continue to serve until their respective successors are appointed, elected, or selected.
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Section 22.04. - General Powers.
The board shall have the power to:
(a) Be the sole entity responsible for administering the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund.
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(p) Issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and records pertinent to any investigation or hearing concerning any application for membership or benefits, and to administer oaths to witnesses.
(q) And shall be obligated to create and submit an annual budget to the Mayor and City Council. The City Council shall have the same power of review, modification and approval over the administrative costs of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund as it has for all other departments and agencies of the Consolidated City of Jacksonville.
The foregoing list of expressed powers is not intended to be either complete or exclusive, and the board shall, in addition, have all such powers as it may reasonably determine to be necessary or appropriate to the performance of its duties under the retirement system. Any decision or judgment of the board in good faith on any questions arising hereunder in connection with the exercise of its powers shall be final, binding, and conclusive upon all parties concerned.
Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
. Related Articles of interested: From Jacksonville.Com
I realize that this is a lot of information and that it is a complex issue. I believe that as we move forward and become more involved we will see more issues where we will need to gain a greater level of understanding if we are going to make the kind of impacts that are needed.
Your understanding and involvement is appreciated.