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GI city council delays decision on pension problem
Hours of discussion led to more waiting Tuesday night for Grand Island City Council and those waiting on pension checks. The Council is trying to resolve the overpaying of the retired police officers.
So why did the council put off making any decisions until Thursday night?
It really came down to time. The council spent almost ten hours discussing the details of the situation on Tuesday. But, decided to hold off on coming up with solutions.
"I mean there are just so many things that make you say, what really happened here?" said Peg Gilbert.
Council member Peg Gilbert says she's lost trust in the pension committee.
"We assume that there is over sight that they have done the appropriate steps before it is brought to us," Gilbert said.
Council member Chuck Haase stressed that they've been given very little information on what they're approving. In this case, just a name and an amount.
"This is all we see as a council and so it would be very difficult, if not impossible to determine our council responsibility if that's all we're going to see," Haase said.
Haase questioned a pension payment to retired Sergeant Kerry Cole back in November. He uncovered a startling mistake.
A change in calculating pensions from a single life annuity to a joint life annuity is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"This is a lot of money. This is tax payer's money and as an elected representative my job is to try to protect the tax payers," said Haase.
News 5 tried to reach Finance Director, Jaye Monter and City Attorney Bob Sivick regarding the pension problem, but the city has released a statement saying staff members will not be allowed to speak to the media due to potential litigation.
As questions were answered in last night's meeting, more questions were raised. Haase says he'd like to see changes made within city hall.
"I think that as you see the problems that exist today there should have been a quicker response to stop this process and have this discussion before the claim," said Haase.
The council is expected to make a decision on how to move forward at a special meeting Thursday night.
They will likely vote on whether or not to seek reimbursement from the over payments, as well as whether to continue making payments based on a single life or joint life annuity.
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