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The Hollywood City Commission has authorized the city attorney to file lawsuits against the Fire, Police and General Employee Pension Boards to prevent them from issuing 13th checks to retirees.
The Commission is arguing that under state statue and city ordinance regarding the supplemental pension check, the boards cannot send the 13th checks to the retirees.
It is likely that the city’s legal representation will argue that state law was violated when the police and fire pension boards sent 13th checks to their members because the funds had not performed well enough in the markets for the checks to be sent.
During the recent meeting commissioners expressed concern that the 13th check program which has been abolished is costing the City too much money and may make it hard for the City to provide adequate pensions for current personnel.
Commissioner Patricia Asseff said the 13th check program is not viable and that the city cannot afford it. We have an unfunded pension liability of more than $490 million. The 13th check creates a deficit in the pension fund for people who are working now,” said Asseff.
The police pension board and the fire pension board have approved and issued supplemental distribution checks to their pensioners for the years 2012 and 2013.The general employee’s pension board did not issue a 13th check.
The pension funds have done well recently but still have actuarial losses to make up from previous years for poor investment performance.
The 13th check was added as a benefit for fire department pensioners in 1998, police department pensioners in 2000 and general employees’ pensioners in 2002, according to Raelin Storey, spokesperson for the City of Hollywood.