To the Editor:
Your coverage of El Paso public safety employee pension issues (“Pension fund faces shortfall,” Feb. 17) fosters an important fiscal discussion.
As city leaders know, the cash infusions in 2007 and 2009 strengthened the pension fund and established a pathway to ensuring fund solvency. The core problem, then and now, is contribution amounts by both the city and pension plan participants. Both sides agreed to future concessions. That time has come.
The fact is, El Paso firefighters and police have been good pension partners with the city. In recent decades, our level of pension contributions has nearly tripled to 15.28 percent while the city’s has remained flat at about 18 percent.
Firefighters and police have shown our commitment to helping solve the pension challenges facing El Paso by agreeing to at least $186 million in concessions, but we will not stand by silently as we are vilified and the pension board leadership is smeared.
Even then, we remain ready to address the pension challenges before us – and encourage city leaders to support Mayor John Cook’s efforts to sensibly negotiate a solution before he leaves office in June.
Until then, as always, El Paso citizens can count on firefighters to continue striving to deliver excellent service, be good stewards of city resources, and give back to the community.
El Paso Fire Fighters Association,
IAFF Local 51