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Peoria Firefighter Speaks Out on Pension Problem

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and other Illinois mayors are making stops around the state, urging lawmakers to approve changes to pension benefits for police and firefighters.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and other Illinois mayors are making stops around the state, urging lawmakers to approve changes to pension benefits for police and firefighters.

The mayors say those benefits are too big and cost too much.

One Peoria firefighter is speaking out.

He says the mayors aren’t telling the truth.

Peoria Firefighters Local 50 President, Tony Ardis, says the mayors aren’t presenting the facts.

The mayors claim the rising cost of public safety pensions is because of an increase in their benefits.

However, Ardis says they’ve only had two pension raises over the last 40 years.

Three independent studies looked into the pension fund and Ardis says not one of the attributes the rising costs to their benefits.

He says the recession was a huge set back.

Now, he’s defending his pension because he says the mayors aren’t playing fair.

"Senator Terry Link has made a valiant effort to try to get the sides together and unfortunately the Mayors have chosen a path of trying to negotiate this in the media. And the only reason we are going to the media is just to bring out facts and dispute the at best, exaggeration and at worst, the untruth that the mayors are saying," said Tony Ardis, president of the Peoria Firefighters Local 50.

Mayor Jim Ardis calls police and fire pensions “unsustainable” and say it’s the number one issue facing almost every municipality.

Public safety pensions are about 57% funded, which is down from 72% funding prior to the recession.


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