Memphis Public Safety Referendum Oct 3 More at

The public safety referendum is going to be on the ballot on the October 3rd election, the same time where you vote
for city of Memphis Mayor and what it is is to restore benefits that were taken
away from Memphis police and firefighters. The primary thing is it
restores the health care to the pre 65 [year old] retirees who will have no health care when they retire [otherwise]. So, Memphis employees police and fire especially to retire after 25 years because of the level of [stressful] work they are under. And right now they’re not able to retire. They’re having to work well into
their 60s and 70s in order to keep the benefits that they currently have. K: “And, you say that there is no social security?” C:”Right” K:”That they pay into?” C: “So, government employees do not put into Social Security so [when] we retire we will not have any pensions, we will not have Social Security. The only money that we’ll have is what we and the City has
contributed to a 401A or 401B type retirement [plan]. Voting starts September 13 and we go until October 3rd Election
Day. And also great things about the public safety referendum not only would
restore health care benefits and pensions but it will also go towards
pre-k and road maintenance.” K: “So, Lisa could you tell me why you’re
volunteering on this project today to help make the public aware? L: “Yes, I’m volunteering because
I’m concerned about public safety and the city of Memphis. My husband has served the city as a police officer for over twenty years, and I’m concerned about what happens to him when he retires and whether or not he can even retire. Because will he be able to afford his health care? I’m concerned for other officers and firefighters who who have other issues, like maybe they they’ve fought fires and have lung issues, cancer, anything that happens when you treat your body that way. And you are a public servant and you never say no. You run into that fire And you, um, drive your vehicle, maybe even over a hundred mph to get to that person who needs your help. And for the City to have dropped these people, to drop these public servants, these
heroes is unconscionable.” K: “So, is there a website where we can read the actual referendum?” C:”Yes ma’am. So if you
log on to the internet and go to it will have all the
information about the referendum and what it’s about
and you can also go on there to volunteer to work polls, cause we need as many
volunteers as we can [possibly get].” L: “I’m concerned for my family, butI’m also concerned for the other families. I’m concerned about what kind of officers and firefighters
will want to work for our city? And, how many officers and firefighters do we have to lose because of the situation? We’re asking you, citizens of Memphis, since the City Council could not assist us, We’re asking you to help us Please vote FOR this referendum. We want to hire more officers. Qualified officers and firefighters. We also want to help the children, the Pre-K program. We want to help with the pot hole situation. We all know we drive the streets of Memphis, have potholes, and our cars are showing it. We’re asking that the emergency vehicles be able to drive down our roads.” [music] [subtitle:History leading to Public Safety Referendum] C: “Yes, ma’am, so back in 1978 the Memphis Police Department and the Memphis Fire Department actually went on strike
because of working conditions. They wanted fair pay; they wanted a good
retirement. Up to that point the city did not have a solid retirement program for
police and first responders so after the departments went on strike, it also
helped establish the Memphis Police Association and the Memphis Firefighters
Association as the actual bargaining unit of the Memphis Police and the Memphis Fire Department. It also created the pension system that we know of now and the
retiree health care so because of that
it was able to be give officers with 25 years of service and firefighters
the ability to retire and receives sixty two and a half percent of
their highest paid on the department also they were able to have health
insurance and their spouse with the city covering 70% and the
employees contributing 30% so what happened July 1, 2014, the City
Council voted to remove those from first responders and all city employees,
for that matter, so what that did is made it to where anyone that had less than
seven and a half years on, then they no longer had pensions and anyone with the
city of Memphis lost Retiree Health Care so, it’s been real hard for First Responders.” L: “Don’t you think that we need more public servants, more officers, more firefighters, out there? qualified to help us? Memphis is a wonderful place, absolutely amazing people It’s a small minority who decided that it’s going to be a city of crime We don’t agree with that, we think that it is a beautiful city and we have to take it back. We need to take good care of it. We need to love it. And we do. And that’s my little story.” K: “So, what else can you tell me
about this?” C: “So when they, when the City Council voted to take away the pension
and the retirement healthcare, we tried really hard to negotiate with them for
those benefits the The administration at the time in the City
Council actually told us if we could find a way in order to restore the
benefits they would be willing to listen. And for some couple of years, the Police
Association and the Fire Association has presented different means and the City
has shot them all down this was one of the most clear and
effective resolutions we could come up with was to actually pass a referendum, and get it on the ballot so the voters could vote so we can have our benefits which is
fairly similar to what the police and firefighters did they were on strike
in 1978 because it actually made the MOU and what the bargaining
units of the Memphis Police Fire Association actually became all the city
when they took the benefits away they violated in that contract they made with
its employees. So the police department at the time that the benefit were cut, had
well over 2000 police officers and their spouses and the Fire Department, you has well over
thousand firefighters and their spouses benefits be taken away so this has had a
major effect on city employees.” K: “Their morale?” C:”Yeah, the morale has been terrible. We have
lost hundreds of officers. We’re currently short over 400 officers right
now and firefighters, we’re losing firefighters left and right going back to other cities and it’s been really hard to recruit. Other
cities currently right now, all bring better packages for First Responders. A lot of them are coming to Memphis and recruiting our officers. They’re offering anywhere from
$5K to $10K sign up bonuses. They’re offering pensions, they’re
offering a better retirement when you do retire with your pension. Some are
offering up to 85 to 90 percent of their pensions for when they retire. And there
are even departments that are offering 100 percent free health care
for employees. So, it’s not that we feel like we’re asking
for too much. We’re asking for what the city agreed to, what they violated, and
what we signed up for.” K:”And I imagine that most of the other
cities out there, big cities of comparable size
have very good programs?” C:”Yes, there are departments across the
country, I have a couple friends who left the Memphis Police Department actually
went to Austin, Texas, where they’re making over $90,000 a year and they have
a very good pension program so when they retired they get over 80% of their
salary that they had when they were on the job, as well as health insurance.
Another major city like Atlanta, Georgia, did the same thing that Memphis did at
one point. They took the pension away from its employees but they did some
research and they found that the pension program was actually cheaper than the
program that they brought to replace the pension. So they actually restored the pension.
In most municipalities the size of Memphis have pensions and retirement
healthcare retirement especially for their employees.” K:”So, it’s less expensive if you . . .? C:”According” K:”pay the pension rather than having to train new people?” C:”according to people that the Memphis
Police Association hired, they they ran all the numbers and
we even presented those facts to the City Council that they proved that it
was cheaper to stay in the current pension plan than it was to pull out.” K:”Well, thank you and the date again is October 3rd that the public is to vote?” C:” Yes, m’am. October 3rd.” C:”Thank you.” K:”for explaining this.”

About the author


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *