The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is a step closer to addressing some legal concerns with its new pension system for firefighters.
The measure cleared a procedural hurdle today, 18-10. A final vote will take place next week, likely with a similar result.
Judge Robert Dierker issued a preliminary ruling in October that the city was in rights to terminate the old pension system for firefighters and start a new one. But Dierker had some concerns about the way the new system treated vested employees.
Updated at 4:30 p.m. with comments from Jeff Rainford.
St. Louis city firefighters who have served at least seven years with the department will be able to move outside the city boundaries.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled today that the Missouri Legislature was within its rights in 2010 to pass a law overriding local residency requirements for fire departments in cities where the school district is unaccredited or provisionally accredited.
One day after the Missouri Farm Bureau reaffirmed its support for Congressman Akin, Senator Claire McCaskill announced endorsements from the Missouri chapters of the firefighters and police unions. During a conference call, the incumbent Democrat praised the two groups.
"You know, none of the people who go into this line of work do it for the money," McCaskill said. "What they're looking for is a way to serve and give back and have a salary for their families."
Mayor Francis Slay scored a decisive victory Friday in his months-long battle to rein in firefighter pension costs. In a 17 to 10 vote, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved major reforms to the department’s retirement system, cutting benefits, raising payments, and preventing full retirement until age 55.
Slay’s office estimates the changes will save the city $8 million a year in pension costs that have more than quadrupled in the last five years.
Mayor Slay’s Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford says the reforms are necessary and protect taxpayers.
Now, no one in Illinois can stop firefighters or police officers from collecting charitable donations on roads - even if they wanted to.
Under a new Illinois law, public safety officials can't be denied permits to collect money for charities from drivers along roadsides. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law Friday and it takes effect immediately.
The governor's office says Illinois is the sixth state to adopt such a law. The others are Florida, Nebraska, Texas, California and North Carolina.
A St. Louis Fire Department firefighter waits for water as the excursion boat The Robert E. Lee is engulfed in flames at the riverfront in St. Louis on March 21, 2010. The boat was being prepared to be towed to the riverfront in St. Charles, Missouri.
Current and retired firefighters watch the Board of Aldermen debate reforms to their pension system on April 16, 2012.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says cutting the fire department’s pension costs will enable the city to take 30 police jobs off the chopping block.
The Board of Police Commissioners voted Monday to hold onto 30 of the 80 police positions this year’s budget eliminates through attrition, but only if a pension reform bill is passed by the Board of Alderman.
Slay says the bill, which requires firefighters to pay more into the system and prevents full retirement benefits until age 55, would save the city more than $8 million.
An effort by St. Louis mayor Francis Slay to get the spiraling cost of firefighter pensions under control also allow the same sex-partners of city firefighters to get survivor benefits if their partner is killed in the line of duty.
"This is something that could not be done at the state level, would not be done at the state level, which is another reason we want to get local control of the firefighter pensions here in St. Louis," Slay said.
Though they waited until the last possible minute in the current session, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved a measure that lays the ground for reforms to the pension system for its firefighters.