A Missouri House committee has unanimously passed a bill that would make cuts to firefighter pensions in St. Louis, but not before committee members made a few changes to the legislation.
New St. Louis firefighters would pay in 9 percent of their salaries, instead of 8 percent as originally proposed, and applicants would have to disclose any pre-existing injuries and conditions before being hired. New hires would still get back 25 percent of what they pay in as originally proposed. It’s sponsored by State Rep. Mike Leara (R, Sunset Hills).
The bill would not go as far as a proposal made by Mayor Francis Slay: Among the differences, Slay’s plan would have all firefighters put 9 percent of their salaries into the system, and new hires would not get any of that money back upon retirement. The bill in the State House would have new firefighters put in 8 percent, and upon retirement would get back 25 percent of what they paid in. F.I.R.E. Chairman and St. Louis firefighter Abram Pruitt, Junior, traveled to Jefferson City to support the bill.
The dispute over the best way to reduce the cost of firefighter pensions in the city of St. Louis continued on Friday, with Lewis Reed, the president of the Board of Aldermen, laying out his plan.
Reed, whose Twitter feed tracked the progress of a Thursday late-night meeting among himself, firefighters, and selected aldermen, says his plan will reduce the city's required contribution into the Fireman's Retirement System for next year by $7.6 million. Reed unveiled the plan at a City Hall news conference Friday.
St. Louis city firefighters took their objections to pension reform proposals from Mayor Francis Slay to City Hall on Friday, the day the legislation making the changes was formally introduced.
Firefighters say they don't object to the cost-saving proposals in the bills, including reduced disability payments for firefighters who can be retrained for a second career, and a two-tier system that could reduce pension benefits for new hires.
Updated at 12:20 p.m. with comments from the firefighters union.
Updated at 3:55 p.m. with timeframe, and more comments from Mayor Slay and the union.
Saying the current system is financially unsustainable and could result in huge reductions to city services, Mayor Francis Slay has officially unveiled his plan to change pensions for the St. Louis city firefighters.
The former city administrator for Brentwood, Mo. is on probation for the next five years, including six months of house arrest, for embezzling about $30,000 from the mid-county municipality.
Christopher A. Seemayer will also have to pay a fine of $2,000 and make restitution of $15,383 to the city. He pleaded guilty in June to two counts of federal program theft for taking cash advances on the city of Brentwood credit card to use while gambling at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis. The city, unaware of Seemayer's actions, paid the bills with city funds.
Will be updated as more information becomes available
Firefighters in the city of St. Louis got some better news today.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that the department will receive $3.2 million federal funds over the next two years in the form of a SAFER grant. (That stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.)