firefighters

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

The Missouri Court of Appeals heard arguments today over whether or not the city of St. Louis' new pension plan for firefighters will hold. Officials say the plan will save St. Louis almost $4 million a year. The union representing the firefighters doesn't dispute the cost savings, but says the city had no right to pass the plan in the first place. 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri Court of Appeals will hear arguments tomorrow on whether the city of St. Louis had the right to make changes to the pension benefits it offers its firefighters.

In lobbying for the changes in 2012, Mayor Francis Slay cited the financial burden pensions were beginning to place on the city. Its budget for fiscal year 2013 included a $31 million contribution to the system, up from $23 million the year before.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

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.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

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.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

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. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

After five months of debate, major reforms to the pensions for firefighters in St. Louis City are about to become law.

(via Flickr/Be.Futureproof)

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.

File photo

Updated at 3:35 following actions by committee.

Attorneys for the Trustees of the Firemen's Retirement System of St. Louis announced today that they've filed a five-count lawsuit against the City of St. Louis regarding the ongoing pension issue.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

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.

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