Mayor Gray Tells Lawmakers City May Seek Legislative Remedy To Pension Problem

Nov 29, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the city may introduce legislation in the General Assembly to wrest control of its troubled police and fire pension fund away from state lawmakers. 

Lexington is the only city in Kentucky where police and firefighters are not covered by the state pension system.  The onus is on the city to have one and fund it, but control of the plan rests with the legislature.  Mayor Gray says despite annual contributions, the fund is currently 258 million dollars in the hole.

“Even after we put a hundred and thirty million and another sixty million in in cash, we’re still under water.  So if you are looking at this from an income and expense statement, or a balance sheet statement, it’s bad…and it’s not getting any better.  So we’ve got to make a change.”

Gray, a city-contracted pension consultant, and representatives from local police and fire unions, appeared together Wednesday before the interim joint committee on local government.  Police and fire are not on board with the legislative effort but Gray told the Lexington Herald Leader he hopes to reach consensus, otherwise the city will go it alone. 

Republican State Senator Damon Thayer, who chairs the committee,  told the quartet he believes the city should have control over its pension plan.