Mayor Mike Rawlings and his Taxpayers for a Fair Pension are no friends of Dallas police and firefighters.
Their mission is simple: To fix the Dallas Police and Fire Pension fund on the backs of its first responders without the city shouldering any burden.
Instead of negotiating in good faith with our police and firefighters, Mayor Rawlings has launched a formidable, well-funded attack against these brave first responders calling for the legislature to authorize a new pension system, a clawback of money already earned as well as significant benefit cuts.
The “clawback” feature garnishes money from pensioners’ checks–stealing money already earned from first responder retirement accounts. It’s tantamount to going to your bank to withdraw your money from your account and the bank telling you, “No.”
The associations representing active and retired police and firefighters have negotiated in good faith. City leaders have not. Instead, they have made an orchestrated attempt to bring the fund to the brink of disaster. To allow city leaders to gain control of the fund would be catastrophic. The city and its leadership have shown they cannot be trusted. They have never kept their promises to their first responders regarding pay compensation and pension matters. Only the courts have held the city accountable.
Look at all the previous money spent, missing or squandered. The $420 million plus for the Trinity River Corridor Project. The $5 million Trinity River Dallas Wave and the estimated $3 million price tag to remove it. The $182 million price tag for the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The almost $30 million in federal HUD money unaccounted for by the city.
The list is endless.
Mayor Rawlings and his cronies say the city must take over the fund because they have had no control over it. But with four city members on the pension board, the city has had oversight. City leaders approved every provision of the pension and DROP program.
And while city leaders were willing to issue $535 million in pension obligation bonds for the city’s civilian pension, Mayor Rawlings refuses to do anything for its first responders.
Rawlings wants you to believe our first responders became rich from DROP, but the vast majority do not have millions in their accounts. They merely have enough to live with dignity (not extravagantly) and pay their bills in their twilight years. In the mid-90s, the city designed DROP to stop first responders from leaving the city for better employment. DROP ensured that while the city would not pay these brave souls an equitable salary, DROP would see them through their retirement years.
Every active and retired police officer and firefighter faithfully kept their promises to the city. They answered every call. July 7th serves as a grim reminder of the sacrifices made so that the city of Dallas and its citizens can prosper.
Your first responders need your help. Now is the time to answer the call and make City Hall keep its promises to preserve the police and fire pension. Tell City Hall and Austin and that you do not support the clawback and you do not support the Mayor’s Taxpayers for a Fair Pension Plan. Tell them you support the compromise plan from the active and retired Dallas police and firefighters groups.
With all the rhetoric bantered about, it’s probably difficult to determine the truth.
The bottom line, though, is really quite simple: Who do you trust with your life? City Hall with its politicians and business cronies? Or your police and firefighters?