Statement from Councilman Nowakowski on Pension Vote

Oct. 31, 2013

Councilman Michael Nowakowski Headshot for News

Caption:             Councilman     Michael Nowakowski

“I am disappointed with the outcome of today’s meeting regarding the issue of city employee pension calculations. I was optimistic at the prospect of addressing this serious issue, but I am disappointed with the results and I am disappointed with the process.

“Transparency seems to be the most commonly used buzzword by politicians and what happened today was neither open nor transparent. With respect to Councilman Simplot – who called today’s meeting an extension of the Oct. 22, 2013 meeting – today’s meeting was not an extension. This was a brand new meeting.

“Last week the unions and their representatives were outraged by the so-called “reforms” proposed by the Pension Subcommittee. Last week, my colleague Councilman Johnson voted with me in saying that proposed reforms were inappropriate. This week minds have miraculously been changed without a single alteration to the underlying, failed motion of Oct. 22.

“Nothing about this vote was transparent. It was held in the middle of a workday. Any employee who attended had to do so by using their vacation time or day off. Then they were told as a group that they had 10 minutes to address the Council. Thousands of employees and future employees had their futures and their retirements condensed into 10 minutes. It was disappointing and disheartening to see from my perspective.

“The changes adopted today were all things that could and should have been addressed in labor negotiations. Although, after today, I do not see how these negotiations can be conducted in good faith. I want to thank our employees for their dedication and years of service. Our employees have been loyal servants and I feel that they deserved better than what they have been subjected to these past few weeks. This process and these types of decisions are best handled by experts, not politicians vying for their next office.”

Media Contact:

Michael Hammett 602-495-5405