Politics & Government

A List of All the Police and Fire Pension Trustees Who Are Responsible for This Mess

The council members were often not present, and the cops and firefighters were voting their self-interest.

Last week, I posted a letter written to Mayor Mike Rawlings by the chairman of the Texas House of Representatives Pensions Committee. The chairman, Dan Flynn, said, in short: this is your problem. The mayor had said earlier that the city of Dallas might have to declare bankruptcy to avoid a $1 billion liability to the pension. Flynn doesn’t like that option. He told the mayor to come up with a different plan and to come up with it by December 1.

In that post, I chastised the Dallas mayors on whose watch this happened. From about 1990 to 2009, as the city handed over more than $100 million each year to the pension, the council members appointed to the board hardly ever showed up at meetings to see how that money was invested. Look at the absenteeism chart. It’s embarrassing. Yet the mayors during that period (Steve Bartlett, 1991 to 1995; Ron Kirk, 1995-2002; Laura Miller, 2002-2007; and Tom Leppert, 2007-2011) didn’t seem to care. Or notice. A commenter pointed out, rightly, that there are a lot of people who share the blame, not just the trustees appointed by Dallas mayors. Plenty of cops and firefighters have served on the board, too.

Here’s the full list of trustees, going back to 1920 (thank you to Kelly Gottschalk, the pension’s executive director, for providing the names). Below, I’ve singled out the trustees who served from 1990 to 2009. Some of these people, I have no doubt, served with distinction. They did their homework, and they showed up for meetings, and they made decisions based on the long-term health of the pension. But some of these people, it is obvious, failed in a very big way. They didn’t show up to meetings, and, when they did, they made decisions that benefitted their own pensions to the detriment of the long-term health of the pension system as a whole. The list of culprits:

Battalion Section Chief Richard Wachsman (F), 1979-1987, 1990-1999
[Also, Richard Wachsman (F-Pensioner), 2001-2013]
Sergeant John M. Mays (P), 1981-2000
[Also, (Ret.) Sergeant John M. Mays (P-Pensioner), 2001-2016]
Lieutenant Gerald Brown (F), 1983-Present
[Also, (Ret.) Lieutenant Gerald Brown (F-Pensioner), 2013-Present]
(Ret.) Lieutenant Gerald Brown (F-Pensioner), 2013-Present
[And previously, Lieutenant Gerald Brown (F), 1983-2011]
Councilmember Charles Tandy, 1987-1992
Lieutenant Charles Luedeker (F), 1987-1995
Sergeant Larry Eddington (P), 1987-1999
Captain Dwight Walker (P), 1987-2000
Councilmember Glenn Box, 1989-1991
Councilmember Harriet Miers, 1989-1991
Councilmember Mattie Nash, 1991-1992
Councilmember Larry Duncan, 1991-1998
Councilmember Charlotte Mayes, 1991-1998
Councilmember Sandra Crenshaw, 1993-1993
Mayor Pro Tem Mary Poss, 1995-2001
Driver Engineer Gary W. Edge (F), 1995-2009
Sergeant Steven G. Shaw (P), 1999-2011
Battalion Chief George J. Tomasovic (F), 1999-2015
Councilmember John Loza, 2000-2001
Councilmember Donald Hill, 2000-2007
Councilmember Dr. Maxine Thornton-Reese, 2000-2007
Sergeant Rector C. McCollum (P), 2000-2011
Sergeant Steve Umlor (P), 2000-2013
(Ret.) Bat. Section Chief Richard Wachsman (F-Pensioner), 2001-2013
[And previously, Battalion Section Chief Richard Wachsman (F), 1979-1987, 1990-1999]
(Ret.) Sergeant John M. Mays (P-Pensioner), 2001-2016
[And previously, Sergeant John M. Mays (P), 1981-2000]
Councilmember Pauline Medrano, 2008-2009
Councilmember Dwaine Caraway, 2008-2010
Councilmember David Neumann, 2008-2011
Councilmember Jerry R. Allen, 2008-2013

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