Bonuses for top Dallas pension officials raise eyebrows

Money
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DALLAS -- Just days ago, Dallas City officials joined the police and fire pension fund in celebrating the compromise fix to a $4 billion deficit.

Now, some on the pension fund board are outraged at the awarding of what they are calling huge bonuses to three top pension fund officials.

$625,000 in bonuses to three top pension fund employees. $310,000 of that would go to Pension Fund Executive Director Kelly Gottschalk.

Over the past year, Dallas Police and Firefighters have had to ponder the prospect of reduced pension benefits and higher premiums. All of it the by-product of the reckless management of their City of Dallas sponsored pension fund $4 billion in the red.

After intense negotiations, state lawmakers, City of Dallas and pension fund officials brokered an agreement to restructure and salvage the fund. When an item popped up toward the end of Thursday's Pension Fund agenda, eyebrows raised.

Dallas City Councilmember Scott Griggs sits on the pension fund board. "It's just unacceptable," said Griggs after Thursday's vote.

He and three fellow board members, also city council members, voted against the bonus. It still passed 7-4. "All of that's going with the fund, and we are making some of the biggest bonuses I've seen as a public servant in my six years on the Dallas City Council," said Griggs.

When WFAA asked Gottschalk about the bonus payments today, she indicated it would only be paid to her as a severance if she gets fired in the coming months. "It's very likely I will get fired," said Gottschalk. "I fought with the city very, very hard through this negotiations process and the city will control the board in the future. I don't know what will happen."

Griggs says the actual language voted on by a majority of the board Thursday indicates that Gottschalk and two other administrators will get their severance pay regardless of whether they go or stay. 

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