Retired Employees of the Consolidated City of Jacksonville
On June 6, 1974, eleven retired employees of the Consolidated City of Jacksonville gave birth to a bouncing baby which they named the Retired Employees of the Consolidated City of Jacksonville. They had no way of knowing this baby would grow like topsy’s garden to such tremendous proportions. In less than a year, the membership grew to more than one thousand.
A certificate of incorporation was filed with the Secretary of State and bylaws were adopted by the membership and the organization was officially on its way. The first regular official meeting was held on September 6, 1974, and the response was overwhelming. The 15th floor of City Hall was packed and almost all of the candidates for State Legislature were heard at this meeting.
At the April 4, 1975 meeting, candidates for the office of Mayor and all City Council candidates were invited to speak, and a large number responded with their presence. During the first year, the officers attended monthly board meetings, monthly meetings, met with the Duval Legislative Delegation, and had numerous conferences with city officials in support of benefits for all retired employees. During the first years, the officers worked tirelessly and diligently on behalf of the retirees in:
- Bringing to a successful conclusion a minimum pension of $300 per month for retirees and $200 per month for surviving spouse.
- Attempting to secure a cost of living increase for all retired employees.
- Protecting those benefits to which you are already entitled.
The first resolution introduced by City Councilman Earl Huntley, sought to have a cost of living clause in all city pension plans.
Membership today, September 1, 1994, is over 2,600 and should be larger. We should never stop growing. Shortly after consolidation and during Mayor Hans G. Tanzler, Jr.’s administration, the minimum monthly check for all city employees was raised to $300 for retirees and $200 for widows and widowers. Mayor Tanzler signed the ordinance raising the minimum monthly benefit for all city pensioners in the presence of officers of the Association.
During Mayor Jake Godbold’s first administration, through the urging of the Association and its officers, a cost of living gratuity was awarded on an annual basis to all retirees with a $6,000 per year pension base.
In 1974, the Pension Advisory Committee was created providing for representatives from the Association and in 1987, an ordinance was passed providing for membership on the General Employees Pension Trustees by a designated representative of the Association.
In 1979, through Duval County Legislative Delegation, the Association was permitted to have a representative on all three Pension Advisory Committees of the following: 1937 Employees Pension Fund; 1937 Police & Fire Pension Fund; and 1945 County Pension Fund.
An annual bonus or gratuity started at 4% in 1979 and increased to 10% (with a cap of $6,000 pension) by 1985 where it remained until 1989.
In 1987, the minimum pension for widows and widowers was increased to $300 per month and for retired employees to $400 per month as proposed by Mayor Tommy Hazouri.
In 1990, during Mayor Tommy Hazouri’s administration, a one-time cost of living adjustment was given to retirees of the General Employees and the Police & Fire Pension Funds. This was the beginning of the door being opened for providing annual cost of living adjustments. The City of Jacksonville Pension Fund was one of the few without a cost of living adjustment. All of these increases have been enacted within the law without any deduction from the pension checks.
In 1992, the city administration began providing office space for the Association in City Hall and our secretary, Betty Jo Boos, moved in on March 27, 1992.
In 1993, under the sponsorship of Mayor Ed Austin, the City Council passed an ordinance providing for a cost of living not to exceed 3% and a $3.00 per month supplement for each year of service not to exceed 30 years (or $90) to the pensions of the retirees and beneficiaries, whichever is greater. In order to receive the Cola, there is a five year waiting period.
In 1994, in conjunction with the office of Pension and Retirement, we began publication of REACT (Retired Employees are Citizens Too), a monthly newsletter for retirees.
In 1995, minimum pensions increased for 425 retirees and beneficiaries. Legislation was introduced in 1997 for pensioners to receive both the Cola and Supplement with no action taken. The REA will continue this effort.
In 1999, Mayor John A. Delaney proclaimed the second Monday in August of each year as Retired Employees of the Consolidated City of Jax Day. In 2000, the City Council passed an ordinance giving us permission to use the seal in our logo. Logo approved in March to be used on our brochures, hats, shirts, etc.
We also continued our efforts to receive both the Cola and Supplement. However, an ordinance for this benefit was never passed by City Council. Ordinance 2000-787 (referred to as the .10 cent ordinance) was passed by the City Council which provided for a service/retirement adjustment for retirees and beneficiaries.
In 2001, the Retired Employee Association newsletter, the “Real Scoop” was introduced in July and continues today, published 6 times a year.
In 2002, the Board of Directors of the City and Police Federal Credit Union offered us space in their office at 4830 Waller Street. The move took place in June.
In 2003, the Associate Membership was established and the change in Bylaws was voted on at the June membership meeting. Any person who has met the vesting requirements for any pension plan shall be eligible for membership in the REA as an Associate Member.
Beginning October 2003, retirees from the General Employees and Police & Fire Pension Funds will receive the following benefit enhancements:
- Simultaneous COLA & Health Care Supplement; you no longer lose the health care supplement when you receive the COLA.
- The monthly Health Care Supplement was increased from $3 to $5 for each year of service up to 30 years ($150 a month maximum).
- Each year the COLA increase will be 3% instead of being valued by an inflation index.
- Survivor benefits will not terminate if surviving spouse remarries.
- The monthly benefit was increased from $50 to $300 for a minor sole beneficiary child.
- Active members can purchase up to 2 years military service.
Also in 2004, the Marvin L. Boos, Sr. Lifetime Service Award was established. Marvin and Betty Jo were the first two recipients of the award at the REA Annual Meeting in December.
“We have come a long way but we must continue to grow and there is much to be accomplished. We can do this by fulfilling our duties to inculcate a sense of responsibility to our Community, State, and Nation. In doing what we ought, we deserve no praise, because this is our duty. The purpose of the Association is to protect and improve pension funds providing for our retirement and to assist retirees and future retirees in maintaining a better quality of life in their retirement years. As individuals, we are weak; as a group, we are strong; as an organization, we are powerful. Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends.”
“Let us make a commitment to improve our organization – not just a contribution. I am reminded of the difference each morning when eating my eggs and bacon that the chicken who laid that egg made a contribution, but that hog providing the bacon made a commitment.”
The above comments are from the REA 20th Anniversary presentation by Claude L. Mullis (REA President 1992-1993) on September 1, 1994.