AuroraHot SheetPublic Safety

Aurora voters to have final say on police pension

Author: Kara Mason - August 29, 2018 - Updated: August 28, 2018

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Aurora’s City Council in session. (aurora.gov)

This November, Aurora voters will decide on a pension plan for the city’s police officers.

Aurora City Council members voted to decide to put the question on the ballot Monday night. The question comes after months of negotiations between the city and the Aurora Police Association, representing officers.

But because no compromise was met in a timely manner during collective bargaining this year, the city charter dictates that voters must decide.

The police union wants to switch from its association with the Aurora Money Purchase Plan, or MPPP, a locally-controlled defined contribution plan, to the Fire and Police Pension Association plan, or FPPA, a statewide defined benefit plan that more than 200 public safety departments in Colorado associate with.

An independent report was published at the beginning of August with a recommendation to stay with the city plan. The police union rejected the recommendation, triggering the ballot question.

The question will ask voters to implement the police association offer over the independent report’s recommendations, which also include an extra day of annual leave for non-administrative officers next year and pay increases.

Council member Allison Hiltz wrote on her website over the weekend that her reasoning for supporting the police union affiliating with FPPA is about more than retirement plans, it’s about personal choice, transparency and ensuring the city’s public safety employees are prepared for retirement.

Other city council members said during Monday’s meeting that the issue comes down to local control of the plan and keeping a balanced budget, which the city is required by its charter to do.

The independent report itself caused some heartburn for Hiltz, who noted out of the more than 80 references, five of them are from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-leaning organization that often opposes defined benefit pension plans.

Council member Nicole Johnston said during Monday’s meeting that those references clearly should have been avoided but don’t negate the recommendations.

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for ColoradoPolitics.com. She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.