Lenny Curry speaks to negotiators ahead of collective bargaining

Lenny Curry

On Thursday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry offered opening remarks ahead of pivotal collective bargaining talks between administrators and the Jacksonville Supervisors Association.

The collective bargaining is necessary, as new pension plans for new hires must be negotiated to unlock the guaranteed revenue offered after the passage of County Referendum 1, which allows the city to extend a current half-cent infrastructure sales tax past its 2030 sunset date to address Jacksonville’s unfunded pension liability, which currently is hurtling toward $3 billion.

Jacksonville hasn’t had meaningful labor negotiations in years; Curry, who scored a resounding political victory with the overwhelming vote in favor of the referendum, now must see that meaningful re-negotiation happens.

Curry noted in prepared remarks that “the voters recognized that annual pension costs, approaching $300 million a year, are unsustainable. It is now up to us to see this through and solve this problem once and for all. Collective bargaining is the final step, pending Jacksonville City Council approval.”

“I have empowered my team of negotiators here with you today to propose a solution that will put this issue behind us. When my proposal is presented,” Curry said, “you will find that it is consistent with the principles that I believe and that I have emphasized over the last year.”

Among those precepts: a “recognition that employees haven’t been fairly compensated, taken pay cuts and haven’t had raises. My offer will reflect my commitment to City employees and the value of their contributions,” Curry said.

The mayor noted, also, the offer including “new plans for new employees that solve this problem once and for all.”

“These plans are sustainable, market-driven, value new employees, attract and retain new employees and are consistent with what hard working citizens would expect,” Curry related.

The goal, added Curry, to give the city “control” over its “financial future.”

Curry closed his prepared remarks by emphasizing his commitment to ensuring that the problem does not happen again.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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