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City's pension plan lawyer will cost taxpayers

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Updated: 5/21/2013 11:43 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Action News has learned city council wants to hire its owner lawyer to look at the deal between the police and firefighters.

Earlier this month, Mayor Alvin Brown applauded a new pension deal between the city and police and firefighters. Now city council wants to make sure taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck.

"Taxpayers are going to pay going forward," said Councilman Matt Schellenberg.

Action News has learned Schellenberg and others want to spend more taxpayer money to make sure the pension is right, but it's going to cost another $250,000. "We're hiring a lawyer and/or advisor to give advice on the pension," said Schellenberg.

The quarter of a million dollar salary is slightly more than what the city's attorney makes now. General Counsel Cindy Laquidara says city charter allows for the council to retain a lawyer described as "legislative counsel," but says this proposal goes beyond that.

She says, "Counties don't hire separate counsel from their commissioners. City councils don't hire separate counsel from their mayor. It's just really puzzling that this is their approach."

We asked Schellenberg why, with lawyers on staff already, does council want to spent more taxpayer money. "That's a good question. I see, it's that the general council has been intimately involved in negotiations of the agreement with the mayor," said Schellenberg.

This is being drafted up as emergency legislation, set to be taken up at city council's meeting next week.

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