The Battle Of The Benefits For Memphis Police Is Now Underway

Memphis, TN - First it was the billboards. Then it was openly fighting with the Mayor. Now the battle for restoring health insurance benefits for Memphis police and fire is officially underway. Local 24's Mike Matthews has the goods.
 
The Memphis way.
It means getting angry about billboards showing the homicide rate and how shorthanded the police department is, even though they are facts and can be found by anybody on the internet.
The Memphis way means fighting with the head of the police officers union.
A C Wharton did it first, now it's Jim Strickland's turn.
A battle over benefits that has turned personal.
 
When Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams was asked whether he'd resign if it meant police got benefits restored, he answered "No. That's not tied to it."
 
The benefits.
Williams wants them because he says the members of the Memphis Police Association want them.
Health insurance; employees are hit with a lot more money, with less coverage, and some retirees are spending almost their entire check for insurance, if they can afford to do that.
Mayor Strickland says he doesn't want to raise taxes, and bringing back the benefits would do that, he says. "What I'm trying to do," Strickland says, "... is keep the tax rate where it is."
 
The Memphis City Council is the group to watch for.
Members approve how much money will be spent; they will vote on whether to restore the old health insurance benefits.
Council Chairman Berlin Boyd says, "I don't see the old benefits being restored. I don't see pensions coming back, like they were back in the day. But what I think we need to do is work toward introducing and getting more people to move into the city of Memphis, so we can have more revenue."
 
Contract talks between the Memphis Police Association and the city are underway. Budget talks for Memphis City Council members will begin in several weeks.

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