Minneapolis Police Relief Association votes on merger with the state's police retirement fundby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The board of directors for the Minneapolis Police Relief Association will vote Wednesday morning on a proposal to merge with the state's police retirement fund.
The legislature passed a bill to consolidate the two pension funds during last month's special session. However, both the fund's members and the Minneapolis City Council have to approve the agreement.
Larry Ward, president of the Minneapolis fund, says the merger will likely mean less money for pensioners. But Ward says economic woes have made it hard for the city of Minneapolis to maintain its obligations to fund members.
"Hopefully we can add stability to our pensioners and not put them through this every other few years with the city of Minneapolis with challenging us in the courts," he said. "So, I think in the long run, yes, this should work for everybody and hopefully we can put this to rest once and for all."
The move will also mean the dissolution of the local organization and he says some members won't like that.
"Let's face facts, this pension's been in position and represented the members for many years and now to take it away and go with the state organization, yeah, it causes some concern with some of the members."
The pension merger would end a city-led lawsuit alleging the fund miscalculated member benefits, which resulted in overcharging the city.
Under the agreement, the city's firefighter relief fund would also be merged with the state firefighter pension fund.
The city of Minneapolis has long lobbied state lawmakers for relief from its pension obligations, and the Legislature passed a bill to consolidate the two pension plans in last month's special session. Both the fund members and Minneapolis City Council need to agree on the merger before Sept. 15.
City officials say the merger will save city property tax payers $21 million next year.