City offers settlement in pension dispute
Plymouth Mayor Oliver Wolcott
Apr. 7, 2018 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Despite authorization earlier this month allowing Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise to cancel a tolling agreement and proceed with litigation, a settlement may be near in the disputed fire pension obligation from the City of Plymouth.
The pension obligation remained following the 2010 dissolution of the intergovernmental fire protection agreement. Under that agreement, one department provided all fire services to both the city and township for 17 years.
The two communities did not agree as to the financial obligation and the accounting methodology used to determine the amount the city owed the employees’ pension fund. Last month, township officials reported the city obligation to be near $1.5 million. At the board of trustees meeting last week, however, that number was revised to $1.45 million.
City officials have reportedly offered a settlement of $800,000 and a used 2010 Pierce fire truck as full payment of the obligation.
Heise told the board members last Tuesday that he would prefer a lump sum payment and recommend a $1.1 million settlement amount be proffered to the city. Heise, an attorney, estimated the cost of ligation at $200,000. He said the settlement time would drag on and he felt the township would be at the mercy of the courts as to timing.
“My recommendation is we get this done by the end of the year. I recommend a $1.1 million settlement plus a MERS acknowledgement from the city…I want a universal settlement,” Heise said.
Trustees Chuck Curmi and Bob Doroshewitz were not in favor of Heise’s suggestion and the two cast dissenting votes on a motion to approve the settlement offer. The motion was approved by a 4 to 2 vote following lengthy discussion.
Curmi said he thought the township needed to consult an expert pension attorney while Doroshewitz said he was not happy with the suggested amount.
“From 1.45 million to $1.1 million is a generous settlement,” Doroshewitz said.
“We want a cash settlement-with no fire truck,” Clerk Jerry Vorva commented.
Trustee Gary Heitman characterized the offer from the city as “a joke.”