Mpls pension fund board puts off vote on merger with state fundby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — The board of directors of the Minneapolis Police Relief Association decided not to vote this week on a proposal to merge the 800-member pension fund with the state fund.
The board has decided to wait for members to vote on the proposal before making a decision, association president Larry Ward said. Minneapolis city officials say the police retirement fund merger will save city property tax payers $21 million next year.
Ward said the two-hour board meeting on Wednesday was "packed, and at times boisterous," as members asked questions about how the deal will affect their benefits.
The merger will likely mean a reduction in benefits for pensioners, Ward said. He also said economic woes have made it hard for the city of Minneapolis to maintain its obligations to fund members.
Members will vote by mail. The result of the vote will be announced at their Sept. 13 meeting. Ward says the board will vote then.
The Legislature approved a plan to consolidate the local and state pension funds for the city's police and firefighters during last month's special session. Both the fund members and Minneapolis City Council need to agree on the merger before Sept. 15.
Mike Quinn was an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for 23 years before he retired. He says the pension merger is a good deal and says he'll vote for it. Quinn estimates his pension check will increase more than $700 per month. And he believes most of his fellow pensioners will also vote to approve the deal.
Quinn says the merger will help him and other pensioners recoup some of the losses they sustained after a judge ruled in favor of the city in a lawsuit in 2009. The judge ruled that the pension fund had overpaid its members and overcharged the city. For Quinn, that meant a loss of more than $400 a month.