City studies switch in retirement plans

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By Pat Hibbs

The Williston City Council held a special meeting on Tuesday evening to consider the Florida State Retirement Plan (FRS) in contrast to the City of Williston plan, in which all city employees are currently enrolled.

The subject arose because the Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents Williston's sworn police officers, has proposed a switch to the state system as part of its bargaining agreement.

Council members and about a dozen city employees (all had been invited) listened as Paul Shamoun, a retirement specialist from the Florida League of Cities, outlined the comparable features of each plan, and differences between them. He explained at length the consequences for current employees of a change from the city plan to the state system.

At this point, only PBA members would be affected. All other city employees are part of the city's retirement plan. It remains to be seen whether negotiations with AFSCME, the union that employees recently chose to represent them, will include retirement benefits in its bargaining points.

The open meeting was followed by a closed executive session of the council.