Deadline looms for Dallas Police-Fire Pension fix in legislature

A Texas Senate committee is expected to vote this week on a new version of a fix to the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund bill that passed the Texas House.

Many Dallas police and fire retirees have accused Mayor Mike Rawlings of wanting the pension to fail in order to set up a 401k style plan in its place. Rawlings opposed the house bill, calling it bad deal for taxpayers.

But the mayor is working with State Sen. Royce West on compromises and Monday on FOX4’s Good Day he tried to reassure first responders.

"We are now able to assure police and fire that the fund is not going to go away, so big celebration there. We also want to make sure the taxpayers are taken care of, and they have a voice in this thing that is important. Our police and fire deserve it, we've worked hard to make it happen,” Rawlings said.

But State Rep. Dan Flynn, who authored the bill that passed unanimously in the house, says the compromise is using numbers that haven't been fully vetted. He's concerned about changes that would put the mayor in charge of the fund.

“The reason I don't want the mayor to have ultimate responsibility is who is going to be the mayor in 3-5 years?” Flynn said.

Many of Dallas' 10,000 fire fighters and police officers who depend on the pension funds promised to them are stressed out.

Sherrie Wilson was the first female firefighter hired in Dallas back in 1977. Wilson says the pension fight has rattled the city's bravest.

"They put all their eggs in the fire department basket,” Wilson said.

Wilson says after 35 years with the fire department, she can't even get dental work done.

“It's my money. I cannot get to it,” Wilson said. “All I can do is pray.”

The deadline for the senate bill to pass is a week and a half away. Flynn and the Texas House must approve of any changes to the bill before it goes to Gov. Abbott.