January 14th, 2013 | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD News | Posted In: City Hall, Cops and Courts, PDX Votes

Police and Fire Pension Fight May Be Headed to Legislature

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Portland officials are asking for the Oregon State Legislature's help to make voter-approved pension reforms.

After almost 75 percent of Portland voters approved changes to the Police and Fire Disability and Retirement Fund in November—for a savings of $47 million over 25 years—police union leaders filed a grievance against the change.

The union says the changes must be negotiated, based on a 2009 ruling by the Employment Relations Board saying the local pension program is subject to bargaining,

The city, however, wants the law to treat the PFDR like it does the Public Employees Retirement System, which isn’t subject to union bargaining. The language shows up in the city’s 2013 state legislative agenda, a 48-page list of the city’s hopes and governmental dreams.

City Commissioner Dan Saltzman told The Oregonian in November he knows it will be difficult to push such a change through a Democratically-controlled legislature.

And Portland police Officer Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, told WW today that his group will oppose a change in authority over the PFDR.

“Any time someone wants to limit the options or the benefits for our members, we’re going to advocate to keep those options and keep those benefits with the taxpayers in mind, with fiscal accountability in mind,” Turner says.

Turner added the changes made to the charter were made without listening to police and fire employee groups. “We are the people who are the experts, we are the people who are affected by the fund, we know how it works.”

 
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