Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

JSO Officers to sue City?

Nelson Cuba, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, has threatened to sue the City of Jacksonville if the City Council fails to pass pension plan legislation favored by the police union. After the City’s Finance Committee voted to defer the legislation, Cuba told the Daily Record he would pull out of contract negotiations and sue, unless the full City Council immediately bowed to his demands.

“I want a yea or a nay Tuesday night. If not, then I’ll sue,” said Cuba. “This is a collective bargaining agreement and the only way for the City to get out of it is to declare bankruptcy. If they cannot pay us, how can they pay any other contracts?”[Daily Record]

The defeat came after Councilmember Stephen Joost demanded to know where the money would come from. Interestingly enough, the City’s General Counsel’s Office—not typically a spokesperson for the City Council—told the Daily Record that the Council would likely vote on the bill, even without the support of the Finance Committee. That response, coming from an unelected official, shows the political power the police union continues to hold in Jacksonville. The story in its entirety can be found here.


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9 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Jose says:


  2. spidey says:

    Sentiments among some police officers are that they are sorry they ever agreed to allowing the corrections officers into their union to begin with. Evidently the corrections officers are making attempts to over run what the police officers want.

    It’s certainly given Nelson reason to think he has more power than he actually has. But let’s remember – Nelson is just a patrolman – not the political force he thinks he is – and many police officers wlll tell you just that. They can replace him at will if he goes beyond their wishes.

    In any case, Nelson’s agreement with the City is no better position than Paul Harden’s Waste Management agreement with the City – even though both sides may have agreed to it, it’s not a final binding contract until City Council approves it.

    In fact according to the bill summary on City Council’s website: Sec. 106.108 of the Ordinance Code – Future Pension Benefits and Pension Funding – provides that pension plan enhancements may only be approved if the pension plan is at least 90% actuarially funded at the time the enhancement is approved, and a 90% actuarial funding rate of the plan shall be a prerequisite to the filing of any legislation that would authorize such an enhancement. Any exceptions to the provisions of this section may only be approved by the Council after a public hearing and a 2/3 majority vote.

    And btw, Mr. Rohan is assigned to represent City Council according to the General Counsel’s webpage.
    http://generalcounsel.coj.com/bios.asp?offset=30. If it’s a touchy issue, as this one is, I’ve noticed that Council members will often let the attorney respond so they don’t have to catch any flack…(remember this post? https://jaxpolitics.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/richard-clark-aint-no-jeb-bush/) ….and evidently that was just what Mr. Rohan was doing on behalf of Council President Fussell.

  3. United We Stand says:

    Well allow me to make one observation. It is clear to all of the fine men and women that wear the badge and work in the three main disciplines of JSO Law enforcement (Police, Corrections, & Court Officers) that “spidey” is not an FOP member. I can tell you the Police Officers of JSO feel that we are one Union made up of Law enforcement Professionals that depend on one another to make the law enforcement machine work efficiently. The members of FOP Lodge 5-30 are united as one underneath our fearless and honorable leader, President Nelson Cuba. I will agree on one point and that is President Cuba can be replaced. That is how our democratic system works with-in the FOP. However, any member will tell you President Cuba is in no danger of being replaced. The men and women in blue love him for his dedication, enthusiasm, and the “no flight stand and fight” philosophy that President Cuba has cultivated with-in the Fraternal Order of Police. He has cultivated this philosophy not only locally but nationally, yes nationally. Do not forget that President Cuba is not only our President but he is also the National Trusty for the entire State of Florida. Which at the National level, he fights for the rights of over 300,000 law enforcement officers. The FOP is united as one union. You mess with one, you mess with all. That is what the term union means. As for letting the Corrections Officers in our union, I have been in law enforcement for 20 years and the Corrections Officers have always been in the FOP for that time period. I would say that without a doubt our union means Police, Corrections & Bailiffs/Court Officers. We are a family and we do business and socialize as such.
    Last but not least, once again you are to be corrected. Nelson Cuba is not just a Patrolman. HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF FOP LODGE 5-30.

  4. PhDBlack says:

    City of Jacksonville give JSO what the need, want and deserve. They do a wonderful job and should not have to worry about things like this. They do the job that most city officials would never think about doing. If you have a problem who you goin call, the fine men and women in blue, JSO. Lets treat them better. Even though money maybe tight lets not play with their pensions, we need to keep them happy.

  5. spidey says:

    Thanks for your opinion, United. Let me make several observations about it.

    First, you are correct. I am not a member of the FOP. However, I have occasion to work with numerous police officers and what I stated about Nelson is the sentiment of many of them.

    Second, as a twenty year JSO person, even you should know that the corrections officers were part of the General Employees Pension Fund, not PFPF and FOP until October 1, 2001. Here’s the City Council’s website where they approved their move.

    Now as for the fine people at JSO (all of them) – they are wonderful, I wholeheartedly support them, think they are the greatest. But is it wise to give corrections officers the DROP retiremant plan allowing them to retire at any age after 20 years and a guaranteed 3% COLA at this point in deep economic troubled times. My answer is NO. We can’t afford it. I respect that the corrections officers had an agreement with the City. It’s unfortunate that our City’s circumstances have changed and the agreement can’t be followed through on. However, the City’s Ordinance Code specifically prohibits consideration of such a pension bill. It has to have a two thirds vote if the actuarial value of the fund is under 90% – which it happens to be right now – in fact it’s way under.

    So United, you tell me how this looks. The citizens of Jacksonville, 22,300 of them, are projected to lose their jobs this year. Instead of tightening their belts, the FOP wants to try to force through a bill that will allow corrections officers to retire early and get a guaranteed 3% cost of living raise every year. It makes your union, and your union members, look very selfish.

    And as for what appeared to me to be threats by Nelson to potentially sue the City for not considering the pension changes, have at it. It appears to me that all of the pertinent Ordinance Code language supports the City all the way to the bank.

    Finally, Nelson’s statements that FOP will just quit collective bargaining discussions with the City – well he can have at that too. As a twenty year employee, I’m sure you are aware that City employees have no right to strike – read Chapter 19 of the Ordinance Code. So all that will happen, is that FOP members will continue working with no contract and you’ll be forced to go to arbitration as required under the ordinance code. If FOP is the one refusing to bargain and its doing so based on the pension plan legislation dispute, you are not going to win that one either.

    FOP members need to seriously consider this and not just listen to Nelson’s puffery. Otherwise, it’s my opinion, and likely not just mine only, that the FOP will suffer a black eye for this one. I hate to see that happen to our fine officers and JSO employees – especially at a time when they need to gain more community respect than ever.

  6. spidey says:

    I need to correct a statement I made earlier:

    “corrections officers were part of the General Employees Pension Fund, not PFPF and FOP until October 1, 2001. Here’s the City Council’s website where they approved their move.

    Here’s the confusion and I think I have it straight now(I hope so anyway…it’s fairly confusing to follow on the web)….corrections officers have been and are members of the FOP. However it is my understanding that until recent years (1989 not 2001 – sorry I had search for corrections instead of correctional officers), the FOP was not their collective bargaining unit representatives. And up until fairly recently, corrections employees (as opposed to the certified corrections officers) were in the same bargaining unit as other City employees….their contracts were negotiated with the City separate and apart from police, corrections officers, and fire.

    In fact, the corrections officers and employees are still a part of the City’s Pension System, instead of the Police and Fire Pension Fund (PFPF) which is something I find to be a bit interesting given that they are members of the FOP and represented by their union for collective bargaining purposes- it seems to me that they should have transferred to the PFPF when the FOP became their collective bargaining representatives.

  7. […] a comment » With Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba threatening to sue the City over a pension dispute, it’s probably time the City of Jacksonville got truly serious and […]

  8. Frank Drebin says:

    Nelson is just getting face time so he can prepare for his own run at the city council.
    The Police and Fire Pension Fund has its own board and will handle things accordingly. Nelson really has no say in the operation of the pension, except that he is a member like all the other police officers.
    Pensions are going to be a hot issue in 2009. The FOP doesn’t need to be on TV trying to embarrass council members. They are not as strong as they think.

  9. […] you for being more concerned with your fiscal responsibilities as City leaders than with threats from a “man who would be king”. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)TU: […]

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