ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Mayor Slay’s plan to cut back the firefighters pension system moves a step closer to reality — despite warnings it could drag taxpayers into a costly lawsuit.
The Board of Aldermen voted to approve “enabling” legislation that would allow it to consider Slay’s cuts later, something it may do if a less drastic pension reform plan fails to pass in the state legislature.
Alderman Greg Carter, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, prodded his colleagues to take action, rather than wait for state lawmakers to find a solution.
“If we sit here twiddling our thumbs we look totally incompetent,” Carter said.
Among the minority voting “no” on the enabling legislation was Aldermanic President Lewis Reed.
“The plan does nothing but set us up for a lawsuit,” Reed said afterwards, “It does not add one red cent to the city’s bottom line.”
Firefighter’s Local 73 President Chris Molitor said he was disappointed the enabling legislation passed, but not giving up on the state bill.
“We’re still confident that our bill will pass in Jefferson City and we hope the aldermen enact that as the pension reform plan,” Molitor said.
Alderman Carter promised on the record during the floor debate that he won’t take up Mayor Slay’s plan in committee unti the state legislative session ends May 17.
Reaction from Mayor Slay’s office came from Director of Operations Sam Dotson, who thanked the aldermen for their support.
“We have to have real change around the pension issues and this is the first real step toward that,” Dotson said.
Meanwhile, there was no indication that the firefighter’s pension board was poised to file a lawsuit against Slay’s plan. A pension board member told KMOX there has been “no decision at this time” on whether a suit will be filed.