I've been going back and forth with what I think is a man over email about the El Paso police and fire pension fund. It's an anonymous email and the language suggests to me it's a he, not a she. No matter what I try they won't budge or give me too much more information than what I'm about to post below. It's up to you guys to go figure out the complete back story and confirm where they are going next with the issue.
You may remember a few years ago we voted to save the police and fire pension fund because they squandered it away on God knows what. Well, it appears they're back to being on the verge of not being able to pay their pensioners what they owe them.
Apparently they handed themselves three or four percent Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) every year since the taxpayers bailed them out. Why do they call it a "cost of living adjustment?" Using the word "adjustment" implies that it may be raised or lowered and we know that they never lower your pay for a cost of living adjustment. Why don't they call it a COLI? Cost of Living Increase is more accurate.
Social Security COLA has been in the last four years - 0,0, 3.8 and 1.7. Most pension funds try to follow that trend. Obviously the police and fire pension board is just voting themselves huge retirement raises every year without realizing that they can't afford it in the long-term... which has become the now-term.
My source says they want council to bail them out. And what better time to ask?
You have the mayor who needs some support and a way to stay relevant.
You have Rep. Steve Ortega who wants to be mayor and could lock in votes for that effort by supporting another bailout.
You have Carl Robinson who will piss away money if the right people get in his ear - and the right people are already in his ear.
Emma Acosta will give away the farm if she thinks it will make her more popular.
Eddie Holguin is like Emma, but better looking. He also needs somebody other than Norma to like him.
Susie Byrd has nothing to lose and nothing but love for the cops and fireman - easy vote for her.
That's five votes and the mayor - it doesn't matter what the other three think.
Mind you, the police and fire unions will be cutting campaign checks to friendly politicos this election cycle. I wonder what one might do in order to receive one of those checks?
Here's the kicker. And by "kicker" I mean a foot right to the taxpayers' collective groin.
The pension board wants to BUY A NEW BUILDING FOR $1 MILLION. They can't pay their obligations, but they'd like to take money out of the underfunded pension and buy a building while asking City Council to spend taxpayer dollars to bail them out. Do I even need to break this down for you? Why doesn't the pension board start using City Council to help compete leveraged buyouts of failing companies? Presi Ortega could arrange the whole deal given he's a financial genius of impeccable ethics.
I can't wait to see how this slides past council without them even questioning it. The political money trough has little water an few open spaces, so it tends to dull the senses of the drinkers - if you know what I mean.