City Council discusses whether to investigate pension fund

An item on Tuesday's City Council agenda called for a formal investigation into the troubled El Paso Firemen and Policemen's pension fund.

When it came up, a lengthy discussion ensued that lasted nearly two hours. Despite many concerns about the current situation and the future sustainability of the fund, cooler heads prevailed, leaving Council seeking more information before taking any action.

Taxpayer money finances 60-percent of the more than billion dollar Fire and Police pension fund. Even after receiving a $210 million dollar bailout from the city in 2007, the fund now faces a $270 million dollar shortfall.

Concerns about the shortfall, pending legislation to fix it, the makeup of the pension fund board's governance structure and the legal past of the fund's executive director -- who resigned but later rescinded his resignation -- led City Rep. Cortney Niland to put an item on the agenda calling for an investigation.

Council discussed the issue at length with members of the board and fire and police representatives. In the end, Council delayed action until next week, after they receive a report on what's needed to fix the fund and whether legislation passes in Austin allowing them to fix it.

Afterward, ABC-7 asked Niland if she still wanted a formal investigation?

"What this dialog created was bringing all parties together and their willingness to do the things that we need," Niland said. "Revisit a governance structure, revisit a managerial audit, revisit a best practices audit and revisit whether or not we need to do a actuarial study on an annual basis. So these sort of things would have

The Fire and Police pension fund board is made up of 11 members, the majority of which come from the Fire and Police departments.

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