Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Break out the popcorn — the Atlanta City Council votes today on pension reform

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 9:13 AM

After nearly a year-and-a-half of discussion, at least five different proposals, and a flood of rhetoric, the Atlanta City Council today will decide how to restructure police, firefighter and other employees' pension plans. Or at least that's what Mayor Kasim Reed would like to happen.

Council agreed last week to a proposal — which has been referred to as a hybrid of Councilwomen Felicia Moore and Yolanda Adrean's plans — that would require employees to contribute more from their paychecks to their retirements. Councilman C.T. Martin helped broker the proposal, which actuaries say could save taxpayers $215 million over 10 years, after Adrean's initial proposal failed to find the 10 votes needed to pass.

Since last week's meeting, councilmembers and union leaders have been briefed on the plan and minor changes to the legislation have been made. Councilman Howard Shook has been crafting language to cap city contributions during dire financial times — considered a key component to winning some councilmembers' support.

It's hard to gauge where councilmembers stand. (According to Ernie Suggs, Councilman C.T. Martin has ordered his colleagues not to speak with the media.) One source told us that some of the initial hold-outs remain opposed, even with changes to the plans — but that the measure has support. Another said to expect a unanimous vote. So we'll just have to watch and see.

Regardless, spectators should prepare for long speeches and some slaps on the back. And considering we're talking about Atlanta politics, maybe even a few surprises.

The fun starts at 3 p.m. You can watch live here. (Note: We sometimes have a hard time loading the livestream on Chrome. Firefox usually works like a charm, however.)

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