HOUSTON - David Keller is the new Chair of the Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund and says the announcement was premature by Mayor Turner last week when he said there was an agreement in the works to solve the city’s budget and under-funded pension problem. “We’re not going to deceive the people into thinking there’s an agreement when there is in fact not an agreement,” he said.
Keller also addressed: The Chance of a deal happening, the potential legislative impact on negotiations and his assertion there is no proof the city of Houston can’t afford the current payment into the pension fund.
Bill Fulton is the Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University.
He says Mayor Turner was smart to hold a news conference without the HFRRF buy-in because the way their deal is structured in the legislature, the HFRRF has little motivation to come to the table.
“Turner has got to change that in Austin,” he said. “Releasing this and calling it a deal without the firefighters is part of a political effort to put pressure on the firefighters to do something.”
Bill King is a former candidate for Mayor and critic of the present HFRRF deal, saying it is not sustainable.
“Seventy five firefighters retired last year, average age around 54,” he said. “Their benefit was a lump sum distribution of $850,000 plus $60,000 a year for the rest of their lives, starting at 54 and that $60,000 increases by three percent a year, guaranteed. That is not reasonable.”
Much more of this very interesting discussion on this weeks’ Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall.
ALSO, Kathleen Fowler founded Halo House Foundation five years ago as a way to provide a place to stay for Houston Medical Center patients dealing with cancers of the blood. From two rooms there are now 10 with the goal of breaking ground on a 32 unit Halo House that charges $20 a night for up to several months. More on how you can help.
****AND on NEWSMAKERS EXTRA, THE Houston Minority Supplier Development Council preparing for its Business EXPO 2016. Get all of the information right here!****
Contact information for this week’s guests:
- David Keller, Chair Houston Firefighters’ Relief & Retirement Fund, 281-372-5100, www.hfrrf.org
- Bill Fulton, Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, 713-348-4132, www.kinder.rice.edu
- Bill King, Attorney, Businessman, bking@Weking.net
- Kathleen Fowler, Executive Director-Founder Halo House Foundation, 713-665-8852, www.halohousefoundation.org
- Bo Wilson, Volunteer, Halo House Foundation, 713-665-8852, www.halohousefoundation.org
- Ingrid M. Robinson, President Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, 713 271-7505, www.expo.hmsdc.org