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Labor: Florida’s Planned Public “Pension Reform”

Much as was feared, the GOP-dominated Legislature, in conjunction with Rick Scott, is attempting to wreak havoc upon the public pension system.  For the record, public employees have seen wage freezes over the past few years, and already earn below what others might make in private enterprise.  Yet, these public servants — inclusive of firefighters, police officers and teachers — enter their professions because of a genuine desire to serve their community.  The pension system offers them an opportunity to have something for their retirement.  It is something that every one of else craves — a retirement where we are not mired in economic desperation.

Oftentimes, these public servants place their lives and their bodies on the line — all for the public betterment.  Yet, our Legislature and the guy occupying the Governor’s Mansion want to cut corporate taxes, providing even greater kick-backs to those who do not need it, at the expense of everyone else.  Our public employees deserve better; our public employees, and the citizens they serve, do not need to be classified as pawns in a coordinated effort to dismantle public services and the overall safety net.

So, I am urging everyone out there to speak out against the “pension deform” legislation being pushed in Tallahassee.  Now is the time to fight back against the system, and to make it responsive to the needs of the many, and not those of the wealthy, empowered few.


2 Comments on This Post
  1. Alex Romano

    I absolutely agree with you stance on the Pension Reform! You said we need to speak out against it. Now, as a lawyer and political activist via which media do you think is the most effective in “speaking out against” this reform. Letter writing, calling the Scott’s office, holding public demonstration? And how do you think the legal community can best utilize their sources to speak against this policy.


    • Derek Brett

      I believe that it requires a multifaceted approach. Scott’s Tea Party/budget announcement of yesterday reflects significant cuts in significant public services including, but certainly not limited to, environmental protection, education, health care, public pensions and court services. We should be speaking with other attorneys within the community, and determining whether we collectively can apply the pressure that perhaps only the organized Bar can apply to mitigate the harm to be done. These cuts are devastating, and it will not be long before they are perceived by the public at-large.

      The most effective means would be to have a coalition of lawyers proceed to build further coalitions with health care advocates, teachers, firefighters, police and other affected professionals. We also need to be savvy enough to use whatever media contacts we have to bring greater exposure of these ills to an exhausted and, unfortunately, too-often inattentive population. As attorneys, we need to use our skills to fight for the future.


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