Firefighters Blast Mayor Slay’s Pension Plan as “Money Grab”

Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — The firefighters union is condemning Mayor Slay’s plan to make changes to the firefighter’s pension system – – calling it a “money grab.”

Standing on the steps of the city hall rotunda, more than a hundred fire fighters turned out for a rally against the proposed changes, as Mayor Slay’s plan was scheduled to be introduced for consideration at the board of aldermen.

“I think anyone would agree that a politician should not be in control of anyone’s retirement fund without proper checks and balances,” said Firefighter’s Local 73 President Chris Molitor.

The Mayor’s office insists checks and balances will be maintained in the plan to reduce soaring firefighter pension costs, now pegged at $24 million a year and projected to rise to $31 million.

img 3339 Firefighters Blast Mayor Slays Pension Plan as Money Grab

Bruce Williams, trustee on firefighter's pension board

At issue in the dispute is a provision in the bill that the union believes would prevent the firefighter pension board of trustees from filing lawsuits in the future, if the mayor’s office decides to make drastic cuts or even terminate the plan.

The provision in the bill reads: “The board of trustees shall have no duty or authority to challenge the city with respect to the establishment, design, amendment or termination of the plan.”

Firefighter’s pension trustee Bruce Williams, a retired city firefighter, says that’s clear to him what the mayor wants.

“I do not believe the board of trustees under the proposed plan will be allowed to force through litigation the city to fully fund the plan as it’s outlined,” Williams said.

Mayor Slay was no where in site as the debate raged between firefighters and Slay’s budget and operations director in the rotunda.

“What I think you have to remember,” said Mayor Slay’s operations director Sam Dotson, “is there is no desire, there is no interest. It’s a complete misrepresentation. We want to protect the firefighters’ retirment system.”

Slay’s 55 page plan was introduced by alderman Craig Schmid, chairman of the public employees committee. Most board members had not read the bill to say whether they will support it. To pass, the bill would need 15 votes for a majority of the 28 member board.

But first, it will go to committee. It has yet to be assigned to a committee for debate. The board has until March 16 to vote on the plan before adjourning for spring break.

Copyright KMOX Radio


  • Ed Golterman

    Whether or not it is a ‘money grab’, the administration is letting all taxpayers down by not demanding sales tax revenue from all entertainment providers and ending the zoo-museum tax. Only recovering the economy can solve any of these fiscal problems.

  • troycaste

    just wait until all of those eligible older guys who were planning to stay until they get 30yrs on bail/quit/retire just before the change hits so they don’t lose benefits & the city is left with all those vacancies and no current hiring list in place then the city can eliminate all of those firefighter positions through attrition and close some firehouses without making the politians look bad, way to cut the budget STl!! (the down side) fewer firemen, trucks and less houses mean much longer response times for the citizen in need of aid.

  • ralph

    I’m confused, the city is pushing to eliminate the firemens retirement system to aid in the citys budget shortfall ?
    didnt the city just get approval to use bonds & spend $112 million dollars to upgrade bathrooms in city parks? what sort of priorities do elected officials in st louis city have?

  • Closed-Door Meeting Over City Firefighters’ Pensions « CBS St. Louis

    […] Firefighters Blast Mayor Slay’s Pension Plan as “Money Grab” […]

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