Mayor James announces firefighter pension agreement

December 18, 2013 - KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Mayor James announced today that the City and the firefighters have reached an agreement on pensions that will save the taxpayers money and facilitate long-term city budgeting while honoring the service of our public safety professionals.

“This agreement is a milestone for our City and is another step in putting our financial house in order.  Now we have a firm foundation for long-term budgeting – a priority of my efficiency agenda,” said Mayor Sly James.  “Many people spent countless hours working towards this agreement including City Manager Troy Schulte, Local 3808 Clay Calvin, Local 42 President Mike Cambiano, Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo, Chair of our Finance Committee, Councilwoman Jan Marcason, and the City’s finance staff.  These individuals deserve the city’s appreciation for their hard work.”

“This is a critical step toward making sure the City remains on sound financial footing for decades to come,” said City Manager Troy Schulte. “These changes will help the city maintain a structurally balanced budget and support our AA credit rating. These modest plan design changes will keep the City from spending billions more in pensions and allow the City to focus its resources on priorities important to our residents.”  Schulte added, “This successfully wraps up a three year process involving all four of the City’s pension plans. We thank Local 42  and Local 3808 for joining this effort and standing side-by-side with other city employees.”

“Addressing the long-term viability of our pension system was the paramount task that we set out on some two years ago,” said Local 3808 President, Clay Calvin. “It was a collaborative effort on the part of the two IAFF locals and representatives of the City to come to an agreement.

Though the Firefighters Pension System is healthy at this time, we felt that it was prudent to take the “long range” snapshot of 30 years to ensure that those men and women that come after us still receive a reasonable retirement after their service to the city. The fact that we are not in the Social Security System heightens this need.”

“I believe both sides did their due diligence and have a agreement we all can live with because of this collaborative effort and democratic process,” said Local 42 President Mike Cambiano.  “Mostly, we have created a sustainable retirement system that the city can budget for as a part of their long range financial plan and a retirement the Fire Fighters can count on.  I thank the Mayor for his leadership bringing these negotiations to a close and look forward to working with him in the future.”

“I always had faith that through a collaborative process we would arrive at the best solution for the City and for our public safety professionals who put  their lives on the line for this community,” said Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo. “In the end, we accomplished that while also providing sustainability for the pension fund.”

“This agreement was reached through steadfast commitment and a focus on the best interests of the City,” said Finance Committee Chair, Councilwoman Jan Marcason.  “I appreciate the efforts of Local 42 in continuing to work with the City to find common ground and a workable solution for the long-term. Without a doubt, this agreement is a win for taxpayers and for public safety staff.”

Current retirees will see no change in their benefit plan.  Current employees will contribute an additional 1% to receive the current retirement benefit.  New hires will contribute an additional 1% as well and will receive a modified retirement benefit.

These negotiations were part of a pension reform process spanning three years and includes all city employee units, including civilian and public safety employees.  The City Council will consider an ordinance on comprehensive pension reform in January now that this final piece is in place.

Contact: Joni Wickham: 816-513-6582 or cell: 816-572-2152