Saturday, January 3, 2009
Train Wreck a'Coming
"Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan rang the warning bell during his first day in office," reports the Northwest Arkansas Times, telling his transition team that the pension funds for the city's retired police officers and fire fighters are underfunded by millions of dollars. City Attorney Kit Williams wrote to Mayor Dan Coody in a memo dated last April 28, even before the stock market went south, that the city was facing "the train wreck of the total depletion of the pension fund's assets" within 10 years if nothing was done to correct the problem. Since then, the City has done nothing.
There likely will be other major problems discovered. Like the neglected or mismanaged pension fund, they will require difficult decisions between raising taxes or reducing benefits and services. Or hiding the problem from the public and doing nothing. Mayor Jordan can offer no easy solution to the retired police officers and fire fighters, but being honest about the problem is a good start on his first day in office.