Mayor Deegan’s administration offers return to pension in negotiations with First Responders Union

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bringing back a pension is now on the table as Jacksonville’s police and fire unions continue to hammer out a new contract with the city.

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FOP Lodge 530 President Randy Reaves said the city made an offer Thursday that would bring JSO and JFRD back to the Florida Retirement System in year three of the contract.

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“Mayor Deegan has said that she would listen to our concerns. We brought her our concerns, our data. We know it’s a huge lift for the city. There’s a lot of pieces involved. This is the biggest piece,” said Reaves.

Seven years ago JSO moved to a 401K plan, but Reaves noted Duval is an outlier in that regard.

“We were told then by a previous administration that we were going to be the first of many. Here we are seven years later, we’re still the only county in the State of Florida that does not have a pension for their first responders,” said Reaves.

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Reaves noted the lack of a pension has been a major obstacle for recruitment.

Currently, JSO is short more than 100 police officers and more than 200 corrections officers.

Compounding the problem, JSO regularly loses employees to nearby agencies that do offer pensions.

But Reaves argued by returning to the Florida Retirement System, Sheriff TK Waters would be able to flip the script.

READ: Florida firefighters join PBA in fight against public-employee union restrictions

“He now will be able to got to other agencies and say hey, you can come to Jacksonville even if you’re in the Florida Retirement System, cause then we’ll be able to have lateral transfers here to Jacksonville,” Said Reaves. “That is going to be a huge asset.”

Reaves said he hopes a final deal will be struck in the next few weeks.

The Deegan Administration declined to comment on the specifics of the negotiations but did say they’ve been going, “extremely well and are in the final stages”.

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