Members of Joplin's Police and Firefighters Pension Board met today to discuss a variety of issues, including the use of taxpayer money. Members of this retirement board requested that a consultant from Springfield, MO analyze Joplin's pension plan to see if there could be any improvements.
This consultant has experience with the City of Springfield's Police and Fire Pension, and agreed to look at Joplin's, free of charge.
"I believe our pension is doing really well," says Joplin firefighter Adam Grimes.
But Grimes also says "doing well" doesn't always mean taxpayers' money is being used most efficiently. Grimes, also a Joplin Police and Firefighter Pension Board member, says City taxpayers contribute 28% to the City's police and firefighter retirement plan.
"There's a lot of retirement systems across the country that they've improved the retirement plans, they've improved their benefits. To remain competitive, we have to re-evaluate our pension plan," says Grimes.
Enter Jerry Fenstermaker.
"I will address the process, straight on. And it will be different than what you have right now," says Fenstermaker.
Fenstermaker and Grimes say one possible, more efficient way to run Joplin's Police and Firefighters Pension Plan is to have a new, short-term tax revenue for it. Fenstermaker and others say this may be more efficient because it'll get rid of the current consistent tax revenue. The proposed temporary tax would only last until reserve targets are met.
But Fenstermaker and Grimes say this is only one of possible many more ideas.
"The police and fire, you'll find, are the most popular people in the town," says Fenstermaker. "So you better treat them well. And you better show you support them."
Fenstermaker says brainstorming right now is an important first step. During today's Police and Firefighter Pension Board meeting, Fenstermaker asked Joplin's finance director what she thought about the City's pension plan. Fenstermaker said during the meeting that the finance director, through her position, had a key role in the discussion. She refused to answer.
A contract between the City of Joplin and Fenstermaker was signed today, but the contract can end at any time without penalty. Fenstermaker plans on sending city officials and pension board members updates on his financial analysis every 30 days.
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