This is an exciting time for the city of Jacksonville. For the first time in years, the chance to secure our city’s financial future, honor the hard work of City employees, and protect the investment of taxpayers is firmly in our hands.
After earning approval from local and state officials, Jacksonville voters did their part to address a major threat to our community’s well-being and future: our City’s $2.7 billion unfunded pension debt. On August 30th, in one of the most significant votes in Jacksonville’s history, voters overwhelmingly approved a plan that identifies a funding source to fully fund employee pension liability. The next step, an equally historic one, is up to us.
Collective bargaining, pending City Council approval, is the final step in our journey to solve our pension crisis for good. Critical to the City’s collective bargaining proposal, and a required provision of the pension solution, is the closing of existing pension plans to new employees and adherence to all Florida statutory requirements. This is necessary to prevent the pension liability issue from happening again. We have to work together to create new, sustainable retirement plans that bring value to all stakeholders.
As mayor, I proposed an offer that protects the city’s financial future by wisely and responsibly using taxpayer resources; it also helps attract and retain new employees; and it recognizes not only the hard work and dedication of AFSCME members but acknowledges the sacrifices you and member colleagues have made without salary increases, and even pay cuts in some cases. My negotiators understand my commitment to you and these basic principles, earning my utmost trust and confidence.
Today, the negotiating team presented a wage and pension plan to AFSCME union leadership. If accepted by union membership, and approved by the Jacksonville City Council, AFSCME employees will receive salary increases of 9.5 percent over the next three years and a one-time, 2 percent lump-sum payout. In addition, new employees will be placed in a new defined contribution plan as a retirement benefit. A summary of my complete proposal is as follows:
For fiscal year 2017, all employees would receive a one-time, lump-sum consideration equal to 2% of their annual salary.
Future Salary Increases
10/01/2017 – 4.0%
10/01/2018 – 3.0%
10/01/2019 – 2.5%
New Defined Contribution Plan
Years 1–15 Employee Contribution 8% - City Match Contribution 10%
Years 16+ Employee Contribution 8% - City Match Contribution 12%
Please note that all negotiations and offers are subject to the existing pension plan being closed to new employees and adherence to all state statute requirements.
This proposal has been developed to recognize and demonstrate appreciation for your dedicated service and contributions, improve the recruitment and retention of new employees, and protect taxpayers with wise and responsible stewardship of resources. It represents my commitment to be fair and responsible to you and to all of Jacksonville’s people.
It is a great privilege for me to serve as your mayor and work alongside you. By continuing to work together, we will solve our pension crisis once-and-for-all in a way that benefits all of Jacksonville.
Mayor Lenny Curry