Mayor brings warning on brink of pension vote - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Mayor brings warning on brink of pension vote

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Wharton says if all sides cannot find consensus, someone outside Memphis might decide what to do with the pension plan, which everyone agrees is underfunded. Wharton says if all sides cannot find consensus, someone outside Memphis might decide what to do with the pension plan, which everyone agrees is underfunded.

(WMC-TV) - On the brink of Tuesday's big Memphis city pension vote, the mayor has a warning.

The Memphis city administration, city council, and local unions will converge in a pension reform battle.

"It's going to require sacrifice on the part of us all," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

Wharton says if all sides cannot find consensus, someone outside Memphis might decide what to do with the pension plan, which everyone agrees is underfunded.

"If we don't, somebody in the state Legislature, who doesn't live here perhaps has never been to Memphis, is going to come up with a solution or some judge somewhere will come up with a solution that none of us will be happy with," said Wharton.

He says the clash centers on exactly how much the pension is underfunded.

"The fire fighters association says we do have a challenge, but the dimension is $300 million. The administration says we have a challenge and it's $700 million, but no one has put his or her head in the sand and said, 'What? Pension problem?' " said Wharton.

The city wants to convert the pension plan to a 401(k) for future employees and those who have worked for the city less than 10 years. The unions want the city to keep paying a required amount, so the employees are not subject to the whims of financial markets.

"Let's come up with a solution that we can all live with," said Wharton.

All sides meet 1:30 Tuesday afternoon.

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