Houston sues pension fund belonging to firefighters

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Houston sues pension fund belonging to firefighters
A Houston Fire Department incident photo from December 2012. Image credit: Houston FD Facebook page

Houston is suing the pension fund belonging to firefighters because the city wants to get control of it. The mayor argues that the fund is not sustainable in its current form, so drastic changes must be made to save it. Firefighters view this move as an attack and state they were not warned about the lawsuit.

Houston wants control of the firefighters’ pension fund and plans to reduce benefits, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram. The Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF) chairman has spoken out vehemently against the mayor and views the lawsuit as a desperate attempt to get power. He also adds that the mayor has a personal vendetta against the department, so her actions are motivated by more than saving money.

Todd Clark claims Mayor Annise Parker is angry at the firefighters’ pension fund because she feels they did not support her enough during her campaigns. Clark believes the recent lawsuit is a direct result of this misguided anger, and it is the firefighters who are the true victims. The fund views the lawsuit as a political move instead of a way to actually improve the lives of retired firefighters.

The mayor states it is not fair for the city to pay for the pension without being able to make any suggestions or changes. Annise Parker believes the system is unbalanced and cannot continue without major modifications in its future. The mayor and the firefighters have had their problems in the past, so this appears to be the latest battle between them.

Mayor Annise Parker shares that the city is simply concerned about the long-term future of the firefighters’ pension fund, so the lawsuit is the city’s way of guaranteeing it can be involved in the changes. The Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF) is handled separately from the union or other departments such as police. The lawsuit would give Houston the same type of control it has with other pension funds for city workers.

Houston claims the changes made to the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF) would not affect current retired firefighters. Any modifications that would arise would influence new hires and those who are still working. Still, firefighters find little comfort in these words because there is no way to predict how the lawsuit will unfold. They plan to fight it with their own lawyers and try to keep control of their pensions.


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