Tenn. says they have possible solution to pension problems - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tenn. says they have possible solution to Memphis' pension problems

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Memphis City Council members got an idea Tuesday of the urgency for the city to increase the pension fund contribution after hearing from the state treasurer and comptroller. Memphis City Council members got an idea Tuesday of the urgency for the city to increase the pension fund contribution after hearing from the state treasurer and comptroller.

(WMC-TV) - The state of Tennessee says they have a possible solution to the city of Memphis' pension problems: Have new city employees switch to the state's pension plan.

Memphis City Council members got an idea Tuesday of the urgency for the city to increase the pension fund contribution after hearing from the state treasurer and comptroller. Some council members want it to happen in the next two years, not five years like the city wants.

"What they are saying is we want to get the cheapest system that we can get for our employees. That's what I got out of it," said the Memphis Fire Association president Thomas Malone.

Malone is not to impressed with what he heard at this city council committee meeting where the state and experts tried to answer questions about the city's pension.

The MFA wants to keep the current plan that is underfunded. The question is how underfunded.

"We have to first figure out what we owe and that's between 60 or 100 million. We're only putting 20 million. Everyone agrees we have to put in more," said councilman Jim Strickland.

The state of Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson and state Treasurer David Lillard told the council about the possibility of the city moving some employees to the statewide plan, saving taxpayers as much as 21 percent. The city cannot afford the pension as it is now.

"We want to help them in every way we can. It's the city's decision for the city to make, and we want to help them make the right decision," said Wilson.

Lillard says the time for action is now.

"To look at benefits being offered and make sure they are sized appropriately with what he budget has to offer," he said.

Councilwoman Wanda Halbert says the issues are technical.

"[The issues] affect the livelihoods of many past employees, current employees, and future employees," she said.

Lillard said it is cheaper to put money in the pension now rather than waiting years.

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