Frankford resident Greg Welch and the Frankford Town Council have never quite seen eye to eye, so it’s not entirely surprising that Welch, as well as some other residents, are unhappy with the Town’s proposed pension plan for its employees.
“That was a big issue in the election. We knew they were already headed in this direction,” said Welch after Monday’s town council meeting. “It’s on the agenda to be talked about in executive session. They’re changing their town charter to allow it.”
The issue was not discussed by the council during the regular meeting on May 5, and when several residents tried to bring it up, the council explained that it was not on the regular meeting’s agenda. The council did note that the issue would not be discussed until May 10.
“May 10th is when it’s going in front of the House or the Senate — it’s already passed once, apparently,” noted Welch of the related charter change. “I wrote a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office wrote me back and said there was no violation because there was no proof they discussed it behind closed doors.”
Despite the ongoing disapproval from Welch and other town residents, the opponents said they felt that, at this point, there was nothing they could do to change it.
“We could never do anything about it. It’s all up to them,” Welch said of the council. “We can talk to each other and get riled up about it. They had it on the agenda tonight to discuss and possibly vote on getting this state pension plan for the Town employees. They never discussed how much it’s going to cost the Town.”
Town Clerk Terry Truitt refuted the claims that the plan had never been discussed, citing that the Town had held a public hearing in May of 2013 regarding the issue, during which State officials had gone over the options for participation.
“If the Town elected to join the State pension plan, which is sound and solvent,” Truitt emphasized, they could do it “starting out with no buy-ins for years employed — zero — or they could elect to pick any denomination they wanted, which would have cost the Town more money as the years increased,” Truitt added of the plan and the council’s decisions.
“From that point on, Greg Welch made accusations that the Town was going to do full buy-ins and was going to cost the Town well over $100,000,” she continued. “Jerry Smith even elaborated incorrect facts in his election newsletter back in January this year,” she asserted. “This was never the case.”
Truitt emphasized that one of the main reasons for the endeavor is that, currently, Frankford is the only town in the state with an active police department that does not have a pension plan.