Wilm. Council votes against pension recommendation

By Tom Lehman 10:34pm, September 5, 2013 - Updated 10:40pm, September 5, 2013
Wilmington City Councilman Bud Freel discusses the pension comission's recommendation.
Wilmington City Council voted Thursday night against a recommendation aimed at giving pensioners their first increase since 2006.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports:

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The recommendation to grant $100,000 pension increases to both uniformed and non-uniformed retirees failed in an 8-2 decision.

City Councilman Bud Freel, who heads the finance committee, said the measure would have been too costly for Wilmington in the long-term.

Freel said the funding cost obligation for the city would have increased by $3 million during a 15-year funding period required as a result of this action. The measure would have been retroactive to July 1.

"Would I like to give them an increase? I would love to do it, but I don't think it's the responsible thing to at this time," Freel said.

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In April, the Wilmington Pension Commission voted to make the recommendation. The group can make a recommendation regarding cost of living increases annually.

Mike Lawson, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1, was among those who expressed disappointment with the outcome.

Lawson said he would confer with pensioners he represented and indicated that the commission could make another recommendation in 2014.

"We have pensioners who are living under the poverty level and they receive between $5,000 and $10,000 a year and some of those people, they use that to live on," Lawson said.

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