DALLAS - There could be a potential compromise in the debate over the troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension System.
State Senators Royce West and Don Huffines announced on Thursday a tentative agreement struck between the State Senate, city leaders and pension stakeholders.
Huffines said everyone involved wants the agreement to make strides to stop animosity between everyone involved in the pension crisis.
Mayor Mike Rawlings called it a complicated issue and says a fix is going to be expensive no matter whose proposal you like better. But Rawlings believes the proposed modifications are better for Dallas taxpayers while still protecting member's benefits.
“Now, the taxpayers can make sure that we spend the money appropriately and that it will be invested the best way for the future,” Rawlings said. “This will be expensive, but the nature of this bill creates a system that we are not locked in for the set amount for eternity.”
Other details of the so-called conceptual agreement are vague, but Rawlings says it will basically follow State Rep. Dan Flynn's bill for the first five years. There are some other recommended changes.
“On the following issues, the agreement concerning governance of the pension plan, protecting members’ benefits, allowing the city to take responsibility for the plan,” West said.
“It's important that that board has professionals on it, people who know what they're doing,” Huffines said. “And it's not political, and that's what we're able to accomplish.”
In a statement issued to FOX 4 News, Representative Flynn said, “I appreciate Senator West and others working on some changes to the original bill and will give their proposed changes due consideration. But the bottom line is that I remain committed to continue to support the 10,000 police and fire members and their families first and will not allow them to be bullied by the city."
Thomas Glover, the president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas, did not sign the agreement. He says the proposed amendments do not treat our public safety employees in a fair and equitable manner.
“It doesn't mean we don't support a solution,” he said. “We don't support at this time the current solution that is on the table.”
Senator West says a hearing will likely happen next week before the State Affairs committee in order to hammer out an agreement. A different plan was approved by the State House. So both plans would need to be reconciled before a final version is passed.
Time is running out. All bills must be passed in the Senate by May 24 in less than two weeks.
Rawlings still has not responded to the request the Fraternal Order of Police made for him to stay away from next week's police memorial ceremony.