Grand Island City Council Faces Tough Decisions Regarding Pension Woes


The Grand Island City Council spent four hours Tuesday listening to a presentation discussing how to fix the current pension problem facing the city's retired police and firefighters.

Then after a two and a half hour executive meeting the council members decided to postpone further discussion on this heated topic until Thursday at 7 p.m. in the council chambers. The city wants to remind Grand Island citizens that the meeting is open to the public and will also be aired on Grand Island Television.

When the pension discussion picks back up the city council will be debating whether or not to pay up or ask for money back from people like retired police sergeant Kerry Cole. Cole's pension totaled around $900,000, roughly double the amount he was supposed to receive.

Financial advisors said the city is treading on uncharted waters because as far as they know no city has had to deal with something like this before.

Councilwoman Peg Gilbert says the debacle made her lose trust in the pension committee.

The council could decide to pay up and then clear up the confusion in the laws concerning straight and joint annuity claims or not pay and potentially be sued by the firefighters and police officers not receiving the money they were promised.

Unfortunately, the city could end up paying either way as the state would be able to sue for overspending if that's the route the council takes.