Miami Herald | EDITORIAL

Hialeah issue

 

OUR OPINION: Voters should say Yes to pension-reform item

HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com

The lone ballot question for Hialeah voters is a no-brainer: Should any future effort to amend pension provisions in the Hialeah Charter require approval by the electorate? Voters should support this proposal to avoid a repetition of pension abuses in the City of Progress.

The provision does not put in place new pension reforms. Those were approved earlier this year when the City Council voted to eliminate pensions for future elected officials. Good.

With the exception of the mayor’s position, these are not full-time jobs and should not be larded with expensive giveaways.

The city also approved a requirement that current council members, who already have a pension, contribute 7 percent of their compensation. Up to then, they didn’t have to contribute a penny.

This, too, is a sensible move. It applies to council members who are already vested and will apply to those elected more recently who have not yet met the eight-year threshold for qualifying — if they serve long enough.

This is now the law in Hialeah.

What this ballot provision will ensure, if approved, is that, going forward, no City Council can enact changes in this pension law (such as giving themselves fat pensions or raising the payout formula) without winning approval from Hialeah voters.

Given budget restrictions and extravagant pensions doled out to previous Hialeah office-holders — one former mayor enjoys a lifetime pension of $188,000 a year — it’s unlikely that Hialeah voters now or in the future will be in a mood to add to the city’s pension burden.

On the Hialeah ballot question revising the City Charter pension provisions, The Herald recommends a vote of YES.

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