City Council approves motion against elected officials pension
DORAL, FL – The City of Doral Council approved a motion on April 12, 2023, on an unanimous vote to make a recommendation aimed at the pension committee in order to suspend payments and direct the city attorney to bring back a new ordinance to repeal ordinance 2021-02 about elected officials pension.
The decision was made after Glenn E. Thomas of the law firm Lewis Longman Walker presented a fully detailed report explaining the flaws and issues regarding an ordinance previously approved on February 2021 that grants pension benefits for elected officials.
The firm was hired two months ago when a motion passed at the February 2023 council meeting authorizing to retain a firm to review the validity of ordinance 2021-02.
Under said ordinance, all former, current and future elected officials are provided with a lifetime pension health plan and insurance benefits equal to 50% of the average of their last 3 years of compensation if they have served 8 years or two full terms in office and atain the age of 60, or 100% if they have served 12 or more.
The ordinance also provides that the elected officials are not required to contibute into the plan and that the city would fund it.
Now, new findings made by the hired law firm, specialized in pension benefits, revealed, among other things, that the elected officials pension plan wasn’t drafted and approved in compliance with Florida Law due to the fact that it failed to meet the requirements with respect to the establishment of a retirement plan by a unit of local government.
“This is extremely concerning to me. This report is comprehensive and understanding that there are several flaws in how this (the 2021-02 ordinance) was put together and overseen,” said about the matter Mayor Christi Fraga after making questions to Mr. Thomas to absorb the extent of the problem.
“If this plan was not adopted according to the Florida law for me it’s unconstitutional, is as simple as that. I’m not here to blame anyone from the past, but we have to move forward and be responsible with our residents. According to the numbers that I have, if we keep this plan it would cost the city the next ten years about 2.1 million dollars not including healthcare or life insurance cost ” said Vice Mayor Rafael Pineyro.
“I think it’s immoral to ask residents to pay for a salary for public servants specially at the local level. We should be ashamed that we have a budget for this item and we don’t have money to increase the salary of police officers or to put funds into the Silver Club programs,” stated Pineyro.
This is the first important step given by the City Council to suspend the elected officials pension plan pending a new ordinance to repeal the former one since that is the right procedure to follow according to the legal recommendation.