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City to hire attorney to review pension agreement

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Updated: 5/29/2013 8:31 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- City council voted to hire an outside attorney to review the police and fire pension agreement.

There wasn't much discussion by city council members Tuesday when it came to spending $75,000 in taxpayer dollars. Despite the fact that the city employs a dozen attorneys, in emergency legislation, members voted to hire an outside attorney to review the police and fire pension deal.

"There is so much money at stake, we have to make sure the right decision is made," said Councilman Bill Bishop.

Mayor Alvin Brown touts the plan as saving $1 billion over the next 30 years. In the past, general counsel Cindy Laquidara has said the city charter allows the council to retain a lawyer described as "legislative counsel." She spoke only briefly to council members, advising them there are attorneys the city already has on retainer they could speak with. "Call either one, with or without me."

But the city council president says they made the right choice. "We feel it's the right time to have outside assistance," said Bishop.

General counsel did not want to speak after the vote. The council president tells us she can issue a legally binding opinion and override the vote. Bishop says they could appeal that to the attorney general's office.
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