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First Thursday, September 2016

Will discusses two very important recent cases. The first is a donning and doffing FLSA case out of New York – Perez v. City of New York, 2016 WL 4087216 (2nd Cir. 2016) – and the other involves a change in California;s law on pension reductions – Marin Association of Public Employees v. Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association, 2016 WL 4379316 (Cal. App. 2016). Other cases discussed this month:…

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Police Union Sues Over Shortfall In Employee-Funded Pension

SPRINGFIELD, MA – A long-brewing dispute regarding a roughly $8 million portion of the city’s pension debt is heading to court. The Springfield Police Officers Association, the union that represents the rank and file in the local police department, on Monday filed suit against the city, alleging city leaders — and by extension, city taxpayers — should be responsible for paying some of the cost of a pension benefit…

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US Top Court Rejects Union Challenge To New Jersey Pension Reforms

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by unions representing public employees including teachers and state troopers to force the state of New Jersey to pay the full share of its annual public pension contribution. The court declined to hear the unions’ appeal, leaving in place a July 2015 ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court that allowed Republican Governor Chris Christie’s administration to make only partial…

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Higher Pay State Police Officers Receive On Union Leave Must Be Credited To Their Pensions, Court Rules

PENNSYLVANIA – State police officers who receive higher pay when on leave to work for their union must have those extra wages credited toward boosting their state pensions, a Commonwealth Court panel ruled Tuesday. The court’s decision, which upholds a ruling by the State Employees Retirement Board, involves a seven-year, contract-related legal battle between the state police and the Pennsylvania State Police Troopers Association. At issue was whether the…

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Pension Auditor Scorches Jacksonville Fund As Mismanaged, Gives It D-Minus, Calls For Investigation

Board members are paving the way to fill the long-vacated No. 2 position at the beleaguered Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund in spite of orders from the city to leave the spot open. It’s unlikely that the move paves the way for Bobby Deal, the former long-time chairman of the pension fund board who once was considered the heir-apparent to the No. 2 role. Though anything could change…

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Atlanta Firefighters Take Fight With Mayor To Youtube

ATLANTA, GA – An Atlanta firefighters union is taking their battle with Mayor Kasim Reed over pension and pay to a new level: YouTube. The Atlanta Professional Firefighters Association is behind a nearly three-minute video that says Reed’s refusal to grant new raises to public safety is causing veteran firefighters and police officers to leave. The video comes about a month after local police and fire unions erected a…

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San Jose Reaches Deal With Fire, Police Unions On Pension Reform

San Jose’s nastiest political battle is no more. On Wednesday, the city reached a pension reform settlement agreement with its police and fire unions, ending a three-year court battle after voters passed Measure B in June 2012. Details of the deal have yet to be released, but sources confirmed that the agreement is in place and city officials will hold a press conference Wednesday evening. Union officials for police…

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Over Objections From Unions, New York City Council Backs Mayor’s Pension Plan For Police, Firefighters

NEW YORK, NY – In a last-minute move, the City Council threw its support behind Mayor de Blasio’s contentious plans for pensions for injured cops and firefighters with a vote on Wednesday. The divided Council sided with the mayor instead of a more generous plan favored by unions that would fully restore the benefits that newly-hired officers got before 2009. “We are proud to support a plan that strikes…

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First Thursday, June 2015

Cases discussed in this month’s podcast include: Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Pension Reform Legislation, In re Pension Reform Litigation, 2015 IL 118585 (Ill. 2015) San Bernardino Allowed To Cancel Contract With Firefighters’ Union, May Privatize Department, In re City of San Bernardino, California, 2015 WL 2153448 (C.D. Cal. 2015) Sheriff Ordered To Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement, Sheriff of Lee County, Order No. 15U-098 (Fla. PERC 2015) Political Patronage…

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First Thursday, May 2015

Cases discussed in this month’s podcast include: The negotiability of workplace cameras, IAFF, Local 3315 v. Snohomish Fire District 3, 2015 WL 1013220 (Wash. PERC 2015) Arbitrator’s reinstatement of officer in excess force case does not violate public policy, City of Bloomington v. Policemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, 2015 IL App (4th) 140192-U (Ill. App. 2015) Union can assume city’s negotiators have authority, City of Springfield, 31 PERI ¶…

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Four Options For Salvaging New Orleans Firefighters Pension Fund All Rejected

Months of analysis and negotiations over the fate of the New Orleans firefighters pension fund appeared to crumble Monday night, as union and retirement system representatives rejected a set of options put forward as ways to fix the ailing system. Firefighters jeered and, in some cases, crumpled sheets of paper laying out the details of four different plans developed by a nine-member task force put together by Mayor Mitch…

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Judge Strikes Down 30-Year Agreement Between City And Jacksonville Police And Fire Pension Fund

JACKSONVILLE, FL – The other shoe dropped on pension reform when a circuit court judge struck down an existing 30-year agreement between the city and the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund, sending shock waves through City Hall. Circuit Court Judge Thomas Beverly signed his order Tuesday, the day before City Council rejected the latest pension legislation on a deadlocked 9-9 vote Wednesday night. On Thursday, Beverly’s ruling had…

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New 3-Year Pension Deal Means Pay Cut For Houston Firefighters

HOUSTON, TX – Under a deal announced Friday, the City of Houston will save nearly $80 million over the next three years by lowering payments into the Houston Firefighter’s Pension system. But the deal is only three years long and critics warn this only delays millions of dollars in payments instead of changing the system. At a city hall news conference, Houston Mayor Annise Parker acknowledged the shortcomings. “It’s…

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NJ Trooper Unions Sue Governor Over Shortchanged Pension Payment In Proposed 2016 State Budget

TRENTON, NJ – A group of unions representing New Jersey state troopers are the first to sue Gov. Chris Christie to force him to make a larger payment to the state’s public-worker pension system in his latest state budget proposal. Christie’s proposed budget, which covers the fiscal year that begins in July, includes a $1.3 billion pension payment that is nearly two times the size of this year’s contribution,…

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Christie Pension Commission Recommends Plan For Huge Savings For State Government, Fewer Benefits For Employees

TRENTON, NJ – ov. Chris Christie’s high-powered pension commission has proposed a sweeping plan that would save the state billions in retirement and health care costs while reducing benefits for hundreds of thousands of public workers. The commission says New Jersey needs to drastically change its pension and health plans. Christie’s budget address will launch the complex proposal, which he’ll hold up as the answer to a $37 billion…

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First Thursday, February 2015

In this month’s podcast, Will talks about the influence of American Legislative Exchange Council and various anti-public safety union bills it has created that are working their way through state legislatures across the nation. He also covers the following cases: Heart-lung presumption does not require proof that disease caused condition, Di Luzio v. City of Santa Fe, 2015 WL 178396 (N.M. App. 2015) Retroactive application of California’s new pension…

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Saginaw Implements ‘Hybrid Pension Plan’ For City Police Officers

SAGINAW, MI – Saginaw City Council on Monday, Dec. 8, approved a change to the pension plans provided to city police officers. The new “hybrid plan” adopted by City Council Monday is permitted under the new police officers’ union contract approved by Council on Nov. 10. Currently, Saginaw police officers are offered a “defined contribution” retirement plan, where the city contributes 13 percent of the officer’s pay into the…

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Vallejo exits bankruptcy

This post original appeared in Calpension.com. Vallejo got court approval to exit from bankruptcy last week with a plan that includes a sharp increase in pension payments to CalPERS — the opposite of what many expected when the city declared bankruptcy in May 2008. Unions feared that bankruptcy would be used to overturn labor contracts covering pay and pensions. Legislation to curb municipal bankruptcies by requiring approval from a…

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