JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One of the most pressing issues in Jacksonville was at the forefront Tuesday.
Mayor Alvin Brown, the Police and Fire Pension Fund Board met with a mediator at City Hall. It is a continuation of their negotiations that got underway on Friday.
Both sides are attempting to find a solution for the city's nearly $2 billion unfunded pension liability. Issues of governance and professional investment oversight were discussed during Tuesday's meeting.
Police and Fire Pension Fund executive director John Keane flat out said the Fund would not accept the Pension Task Force's suggestion of having the mayor appoint the fifth member of the Fund's board.
Currently, the fifth member is chosen by the other four. Those four are picked by firefighters, police officers, and two by City Council. A mayoral appointment is seen as giving the city more stake in managing, since it already foots the bill for paying pensions. Fund said it's a takeover attempt.
Brown previously outlined proposed changes that included raising contribution rates and trimming back on cost of living adjustments. He has also said before he opposes any tax increase.
The pension board said at a previous meeting it is not ready to discuss benefits that are already in place for existing retirees.
Both sides have agreed to attempt to use citizen recommendations to try and find middle ground. The city's pension crisis has been an ongoing issue for several months.
A task force appointed by the mayor previously suggested a half penny sales tax increase be put up for a vote. It also suggested reducing benefits for future retirees.
Keane will present his counter proposal at the next meeting, which is set for Thursday at 10 a.m.