Dallas Police, Fire Pension to Grant Small Withdrawals - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Police, Fire Pension to Grant Small Withdrawals

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    Dallas Police, Fire Pension to Grant Small Withdrawals

    The Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board has reversed itself and will allow some small withdrawals from deferred retirement funds. (Published Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016)

    The Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board has reversed itself and will allow some small withdrawals from deferred retirement funds.

    The board voted Thursday to allow withdrawals for small amounts requested in November. The panel had voted earlier this month to shut the gates entirely on withdrawals from the ailing pension fund.

    Dozens of retirees voiced their concerns at Thursday's emergency pension board meeting, because when the lump-sum withdrawals were suspended, so too was the option to receive monthly checks from their DROP account. However, the board voted to allow those retirees to once again receive those monthly checks.

    As for the retirees who relied on the lump-sum withdrawals, there's no telling when they'll see their money.

    More than $500 million has been withdrawn since August.

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings filed a lawsuit to stop the lump-sum withdrawals, which he said have accelerated the estimated insolvency projection for the fund to about 10 years.

    The argument is that those lump-sum withdrawals would be a run on the bank because of past Police and Fire Pension Board leadership decisions. Even so, that doesn't sit well with the men and women who say they are now forced to wait for their money.

    "We relied on this system to work for us, so we utilized whatever way it worked for you to put it in place," said Dale Erves, a retired Dallas police officer.

    "Every member that's requesting money has an equal right to everybody else in the fund, and pursuant to the fact that we're the group that's already met our obligation to the city and qualified for retirement, we're owed our money," said Pete Bailey, president of the Dallas Police Retired Officers Association.

    Some retirees worry their homes will go into foreclosure while they wait. The fight is far from over, but board members say they are working hard to find a resolution. They are expected to take up possible larger fixes for the fund at their January board meeting.

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