by: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax Updated:
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry called Police and Fire Pension Fund Board Chairman Lt. Richard Tuten a “crony” after Friday’s meeting between the board members and general counsel Jason Gabriel.
Curry did not attend the meeting, but sent out a statement hours after it ended.
It was the first face-to-face meeting since Gabriel emailed the police and fire pension fund board this week that he has no authority to make a decision on the mayor’s proposed pension deal.
Earlier this week, Jacksonville firefighters have approved a tentative pension deal negotiated with Mayor Lenny Curry.
“I need a drink. Anybody want to give me one?” Tuten said during Friday's meeting.
It wasn’t even noon yet, and that pretty much summed up the mood looming over the meeting.
Gabriel’s email came after four closed-door meetings between the mayor’s top staff and individual board trustees, a meeting Tuten refused, Action News Jax reported earlier this month.
“My analysis actually preceded any of these meetings,” Gabriel said. He added that the law allows the board to serve an advisory role, not a decision-making role.
“Something doesn’t add up. The smell test does not work here,” Tuten said.
Curry sent the following statement after the meeting:
“I’d like to thank four of the five board members who met with our team leading up to today’s meeting and working with us to solve this pension crisis. It’s no surprise that one of the five – the board chairman Richard Tuten - a crony left over from the Keane era – continues to conduct himself with little regard for taxpayers. In fact, Chairman Tuten has been a PFPF board member since 2003 . During these times, he was a part of some of the most egregious decisions in the history of the board which involved outrageous payouts of taxpayer dollars.”
City council will have the final say on the mayor’s pension plan.
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