Do not let The Mayor of Dallas seize and "claw-back" Dallas Police Officers retirement!

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Mayor Rawlings is fighting to enforce a "claw- back" on the already paid out interest on Dallas Police and Firefighters Retirement accounts by seizing their pension checks. That would leave the majority of police and firefighters who went into the drop account without money to pay their bills. My father is a Dallas police officer and is looking at selling his home because he will no longer be able to afford it if Mayor Mike Rawlings is successful. Let it be known that Mayor Mike Rawlings lives in a multimillion-dollar home in Highland Park, Texas and also sat as the board of directors of Ace Cash Express from 2000 to 2006. A blood sucking company who preys on the poor, financially misinformed and disadvantaged. It is not surprising when taking that into consideration that he thinks it's a good idea to claw back money that was promised and already paid out to the honest and hard-working men and women of this city who kept us safe from crime, fire and physical harm while risking their own safety. It has been brought up that he could use a bond system to repair the pension fund but he has refused because he says that it will limit his ability for City projects like "dog parks" etc. I love dogs but if you're like me you believe that the people who protect our city are worth more than a few dog parks. Please read the following letter to Mayor Mike Rawlings by Pete Bailey and sign our petition to let him know as a community and as human beings WE DO NOT SUPPORT him SEIZING OUR retired POLICE and FIREFIGHTERS RETIREMENT. This is it illegal!

The following is a letter Pete Bailey, president of the Dallas Police Retired Officers Association, sent to Mayor Rawlings:

Mr. Mayor, you are misinformed about the facts, and thus, are making statements that simply are not true.  You are doing this to garner public opinion in your favor at the peril of the lives of the men and women that have served this city and the citizens of Dallas for decades.  In your video, you say “The allure of DROP was its down fall” you couldn’t be more wrong.  The failure was the City leaders and DPFP Pension Board failing to frame the interest as compensation to the employee so it would be cost neutral to the fund.  And when myself and others asked to fix it we were told no because it would be against the law.  But this is just one point of many you are confused about.

You were not in this arena in 1992, and by your lack of knowledge, are trying to make up facts that make sense to you and support your ongoing campaign against the men and women of the Dallas Police and Fire Departments.  I was here in 1992 so let me educate you on some truth you have conveniently left out of your talking points.

Not unlike today the city of Dallas and the nation were experiencing very good economic times.  In 1992 the technology boom was underway and the city of Dallas could not hire enough qualified applicants to adequately cover attrition because they did not pay a competitive wage.  Jump now to present day, the City of Dallas just approved a raise for police and your own human resources director Molly Carrol is quoted in the Dallas Morning News as saying, “The starting salary for fire and police will increase over three years bringing their pay close to market.  It’s still not quite average."

So, after the implementation of pay raises over a three-year period you’re only bringing your public safety personnel up to “BELOW AVERAGE”
This is consistent with the pattern of behavior that the City of Dallas has engaged in for more than thirty years.  Ok, so now that we have historical and present day context lets straighten you out on the DROP proposal and why the City of Dallas Mayor, City Manager, and City Council unanimously supported its implementation.  It was simple financial gain for the city taking advantage of the public safety personnel.

In 1992 Police Chief William “Bill” Rathburn went to the city council and told them he could not hire enough officers to cover attrition due to low pay and lack of viable candidates.  Chief Rathburn asked “since we can’t get new hires, can we do something to keep the people we have and gray up the department” This would stabilize the experience and seniority base.  Does any of this sound familiar today?  The city and pension board came up with DROP to keep veteran personnel and the financial carrot to the city was the opportunity to keep an officer or firefighter for 25,30, or 35 years and only pay a 20-year pension to that employee. So, it saves the city up to 36% on an employee pension for the life of that employee.  That’s why it was supported unanimously by the Council, Mayor, and City Manager.

The caveat to the program was that the officers 20-year pension check would be deposited into the pension fund in the employee’s DROP account and the pension fund would then invest those funds in the broader investment plan of the fund.  To compensate the employee for using his/her money to invest the pension fund would pay the employee 8-10% return on the employee’s money.  The pension board and city council thought this was no problem because the fund was generating returns of over 30%.  The problem in nobody thought to make the interest return to the employee’s dependent on the return on investment to the fund minus administrative carrying costs of about 1.5%.  This would have made DROP cost neutral to the fund.

The public safety employees do not get to write or have any say what language is put in the plan amendment proposals.  They only get to make an up or down vote on what is presented to them by the Pension Board after it has been negotiated with and approved by the City of Dallas leadership.

For you to get on television and say that “those police and fire voted themselves this lucrative pension deal taking more eggs from the henhouse than they deserved” is a flat out lie spoken out of ignorance and is a bulling tactic being used in the battle for public opinion.  I also find it interesting that you are not informing the public that the public safety employees have voted three times to reduce their interest in DROP, and with all the below average pay have also taken pay cuts in the last 20 years.

So, Mr. Mayor, when you are ready to stop the disinformation campaign and get down to real honest and progressive discussions about how to fix the problem please let me know.  Until then you can count on me and my organization very publicly calling you out on your misdeeds and correcting the record for the citizens of the City of Dallas.

Pete Bailey
President
Dallas Police Retired Officers Association

 



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