City rejects police union retirement proposal

HARLINGEN — The clock is ticking on union talks seeking new police and fire contracts by the end of the month.

Earlier today the city rejected the police officers’ union request for a return to a state retirement system the city scrapped in 2007.

The police officers’ union had proposed a three-year contract in which officers would forgo pay increases for the first two years in exchange for a return to the Texas Municipal Retirement System, or TMRS, which would cover all city employees.

Under the proposal, employees would contribute 7 percent, which the city would match two-to-one.

In 2007, the city scrapped the state retirement plan in favor of the private Texas Capital Group’s plan, in which the city matches employees’ 5 percent contributions one-to-one.

In a meeting City Manager Dan Serna said city commissioners will not return to TMRS.

Serna said the TMRS retirement plan currently carries an unfunded liability of about $6 million.

But if the city returned to the plan, he said, the unfunded liability would climb to $10.7 million.

The city has offered the union a three-year contract that includes a $450,000 pay package focusing on officers with five or more years of experience.