Slain officer's widow fights for city employees' pensions

(WMC-TV) - Betsy Warren, widow of Memphis police officer Tim Warren who was gunned down at a downtown hotel this summer, stood before city council members Tuesday and asked them to take action to protect city employees' pensions.

"If it's not a need, put it on hold," said Betsy Warren.  "Give the money back to the firemen, police officers and city workers.  You may not miss the 4.6 percent, but the average city worker will miss it."

The council voted to approve an ordinance sponsored by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's administration to prevent the 4.6 percent pay cuts approved for most city workers in the city's 2011-2012 budget from lowering their pension payments.

"We have families to take care of," said Michael Williams with the Memphis Police Association.  "If something happens to me, I have to know my family is going to be taken care of."

The resolution said any city employees who retired while the 4.6 percent pay cut is in effect will not lose that amount from their pensions.

The initial decision to cut employee pay was supposed to be applied to all forms of employee compensation, but the council made an exception.

"A lot of times they try to compare public sector employees with private sector employees," said Williams.  "A lot of times I'm the private sector they go into it for the pay.  They get paid more on the front end.  We accept these jobs with less pay, but for the benefits and the future."

The Memphis Police Association said it wants to make sure the future is secure for those who put their life on the line for the city.

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