Ald. Bob Donovan
Press Release

City employees and retirees deserve the truth

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan December 12, 2013

By - Dec 12th, 2013 09:46 am

While legitimate arguments can be made by both proponents and opponents of the proposed charter ordinance the administration is trumpeting to increase the membership of the Annuity and Pension Board, there are some related issues that are not in dispute.

First, there should be absolutely no doubt that I will be voting against this ill-conceived and phony maneuver.

Second, it is a fact that our pension fund is one of the very best in the nation and has been guided skillfully by many, many people over the course of many years. Administrators of the Employes’ Retirement System, as well as those who have served with distinction on the board, deserve our thanks for ensuring the continued health and excellent condition of the fund.

So it leads me and many others to seriously question this proposal, which appears to be an attempt to fix something that isn’t broken. Why this proposal and why now?

Plain and simple, the mayor didn’t like the outcome of the recent pension board election. Had retired Comptroller W. Martin “Wally” Morics won his election, we would not even be discussing any of this.

But what really bothers me is how disingenuous the mayor is being on the proposal, saying it’s nothing more than to allow him to have “a seat at the table” through appointments to the board. I find it interesting that this never seemed to be an issue during his previous 10 years as mayor.

Mr. Mayor – who, precisely, are you trying to fool? Well I have news for you – it’s not working!

Make no mistake about it – this is all about packing the board in an effort to influence members’ votes.

For the love of God, Mr. Mayor, at least have the courage to tell the truth!

In my view it is imperative that we as a Council make sure we are making the correct decisions always, and especially when it comes to the pensions of our current and former employees. The decisions we make will affect the City of Milwaukee and its citizens for decades.

I for one believe the decisions made by the current pension board and the ERS administration have been sound, but I also believe that could change if this proposal is successful.

The distrust of the mayor on this issue by many current city workers and retirees appears to be monumental and was without a doubt the 1,000-pound elephant in the room at yesterday’s hearing. And I believe the mayor’s maneuvering here speaks volumes about – how shall I put this – his strained relationship with a large number of employees and retirees, along with his apparent inability to work with them.

At the very least our employees deserve honesty from their mayor; anything less just fuels continued mistrust in this mayor and this administration.

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