Dallas Police-Fire Pension Board to take action against former administrators

After two tumultuous years, the current Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board held its final meeting Thursday.

One of the trustees’ final actions was authorizing the director to take legal action against the people who got the pension into its financial crisis. Despite an FBI raid on the office of a pension fund advisor more than a year ago, there have been no criminal charges against anyone involved in creating the problems that threatened to sink the entire fund.

"I want to thank you all for serving on this board,” said Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund Director Kelly Gottschalk. “You have been here through the worst of times."

Sam Friar has been on the board since 2011 and said the financial problems the pension has experienced have weighed on him.

"We only found these problems out when we hired Kelly,” Friar said.

Friar said he and the board were kept in the dark about risky real estate deals that lost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Former trustee Rick Salinas was on the board from 2009 to 2015.

"We just want to be told the truth, we can handle it,” Salinas said. “What really happened?"

Last October, a run on the bank bled millions of dollars from the fund and forced the current board to eventually lock members out of their own retirement savings accounts.

The new law to stabilize the fund requires more financially from both active and retired police and fire fighters and takes effect in September. As a result, the pension fund accepted a whopping 60 retirements from active officers and firefighters on Thursday.

"It's become a serious public safety issue,” said Salinas, who is a retire firefighter. “Active guys are telling me at relief time, they can't leave because there aren't enough guys to have four in an apparatus."

Among those retiring is Friar. His last day is Sept. 5, the last day of the pay period before the new law takes effect. He says it has nothing to do with the new financial requirements, but rather he turns 60 in August.

The mayor is appointing six members to the new board. The other five will be nominated by the police and fire associations and then voted on by members.

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