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AFC in hands of Police, Fire employees

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During a vote on the city of Springfield’s responsibility towards a multimillion-dollar shortfall in the Additional Funding Contribution for Police and Fire Tier I employees, City Council members chose the option they felt would resolve the issue permanently.

At its Monday night meeting, council considered what amount of accountability the city would assume towards the higher than expected unfunded portion of the AFC, which sets aside a portion of Tier I employee salaries for retirement. The benefit, which was supposed to be paid for through the contributions of employees, is underfunded by approximately $9 million, due to factors that include the city’s decision to close the Tier I plan, a lower than expected rate of return and higher than expected retirement payouts.

After a public hearing and discussion on four options to resolve the city’s portion of the shortfall – each with the city assuming varying levels of responsibility – council members voted 7 to 2 in favor of the Police and Fire-supported Option A.

“It gets this problem off Council, it gets this problem off city management, it puts this problem to rest once and for all,” said Shawn Martin, president of Springfield International Fire Fighter Association Local 152.

By voting in favor of Option A, council members agreed to apply $4.75 million from a telecommunications lawsuit towards the unfunded portion of the AFC. Police and Fire Tier I employees agree that that decision would complete the city’s obligation towards the fund, Martin said.

The second most discussed option on the table – and the one recommended by City Manager Greg Burris – was Option B-2, which assumed the city’s closing of the Tier I pension plan was responsible for $2.1 million of the shortage and denied city responsibility for the other factors contributing to the shortfall.

On Monday, the IAFF Local 152 and the Springfield Police Officers Association released a joint news release stating the employee associations’ planned to file a lawsuit if any option other than Option A were approved.

While several council members voiced an objection to the threat of a lawsuit, seven members ultimately voted for Option A, stating a desire to put the issue to rest.

“We’ll walk away from this with both of us hurting a little bit, but we’ll walk away,” said Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky.

Mayor Jim O’Neal and Councilman Dan Chiles voted for Option B-2.[[In-content Ad]]

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