Fears about the struggling Dallas police and fire pension system have fueled a surge in retirements and withdrawals.
Last week, Chief David Brown moved up his retirement and on Monday the president of the Dallas Police Association said he's also leaving. Ron Pinkston, a 32-year DPD veteran, said he moved up his retirement a year because of issues surrounding the pension fund.
Both Brown and Pinkston will now retire on Oct. 4. Kelly Gottschalk, executive director of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, said the chief moved the date up for a simple reason.
“When he came in for his appointment he wanted his check to come in November. He realized our cut off was October 4,” Gottschalk said. “I don't think there's anything more than that. I had the conversation with him. People are reading so much into it and I think it's unfortunate. And they're taking it for more than it is, and making life decisions based on that.”
But Pinkston admits changes to the pension system, along with a possibility that retirement funds known as "drop" could be frozen, prompted him to move his retirement up by a year.
“I wanted to get my money move it, and put it somewhere it will be safe,” Pinkston said. “I don't know anything anyone else doesn't know who has been doing their homework. Hopefully everyone in my position is doing their homework. Checking the numbers to see what's right for their families.”
Gottschalk didn’t give any numbers, but she said there has been a surge in retirements and withdrawal of drop funds.
The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System is the worst funded in the state and is projected to be insolvent by 2030 without drastic changes. Gottschalk says there's likely to be a special board meeting called within the next few weeks freezing drop funds could be one of the options.
“There are a lot of options we're looking at, that's not the only one, and probably the least likely at this point,” Gottschalk said.
Sources tell FOX4 that at the pension system's Oct. 13 meeting they will be asking the City of Dallas to pick up the tab for administrative costs to simply run the system -- a cost of $40 million a year.