Dear city employees,
Houston City Council has endorsed a historic package of pension reforms. The vote clears the way for the City to move forward in partnership with the pension systems to seek legislative approval of the reforms. This is a special moment for the city because it represents the first time ever that all three pension systems have come to the table and worked in a productive manner.
Equally important is that we have kept the promise to maintain defined benefits. We are not placing your retirements at the mercy of the stock market with a 401K-type system. Each pension system has put forth changes that work for their respective retiree groups.
There are changes proposed for contribution rates, cost of living adjustments and the DROP programs, but, I believe, employees will find them palatable. In return for these concessions, we are guaranteeing secure and sustainable pension plans now and for the future. Also, if you are already retired, the size of the check you receive every month will not be going down.
I want to thank the employee groups for recognizing that maintaining the status quo is not an option if we are to be able to continue to meet our pension obligations to employees and our responsibility to provide services to a growing population. I appreciate the service and dedication of each of you and I am committed to ensuring you have retirement benefits on which you can rely for years to come.
I will not ask our city employees to carry the entire burden of balancing our books. Everyone must share in the sacrifice. So, in 2017, I will ask Houston voters to repeal the revenue cap that is also contributing to our financial difficulties.
We’ve all known there would be changes. I wish it had happened 15 years ago. It did not; so it is up to us to make it happen. We are moving forward united with a plan that solves our pension issues permanently and takes the issue off the table for good.
Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for your patience. Most importantly, thank you for your service.
Mayor Sylvester Turner