The city’s unfunded retirement account is a liability between $400 million and $700 million. When you add the health care component, the number rises to nearly $2 billion (Texas Budget Source).
I spent countless hours investigating and researching the firefighter’s collective bargaining agreement. Two pieces of the puzzle were coming up missing.
In 2006, the CATO Institute reported the unfunded retirement accounts across the United States exceed $1.4 trillion and Fort Worth was on this list. Yet, four years later, on April 13, 2010, the city council voted to accept the terms of the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association’s collective bargaining agreement under M&C C-24185. The one voice who objected was Carter Burdette. Councilman Burdette’s objection had several, well documented concerns.
From the city’s meeting minutes, “He (Councilman Burdette) added that he commended the firefighters for their negotiation abilities with this contract and stated that he did not feel the City representatives did their part in this negotiation.”
So how did this collective bargaining agreement get through both the city manager and the city council? Puzzle piece number one.
My opponent, Dennis Shingleton received the endorsement of the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association, a political action committee. On election day May 14, 2011, firefighters were at the polling locations wearing yellow t-shirts with “Firefighters for Shingleton.” I asked individual firefighters why they were there supporting Dennis Shingleton. Most said, “We were told to be here.” There were no interviews by the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association. He just received their endorsement.Why? Puzzle piece number two.
“Follow the money,” was the memorable quote from All the President’s Men. So, that’s what I did.
I went to the Texas Ethics Commission, Search Campaign Finance Reports.
What I found was almost $200,000 paid to the Eppstein Group by the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association for help in presenting their collective bargaining agreement to the city. Further research showed that the Eppstein group also helps politicians get into office; people like Rep Kay Granger, Mayor Moncrief and most of Fort Worth’s city council. His firm is also the paid political consultant of my opponent, Dennis Shingleton. Puzzle piece number one found.
Now that I understood Eppstein’s relationship to the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association, it became clear why his client, Dennis Shingleton, was endorsed by the political action committee. In 2013, the collective bargaining agreement expires. Eppstein helps firefighter PAC. Eppstein helps Shingleton. Shingleton helps firefighters with collective bargaining agreement, which in turn helps Eppstein. Puzzle piece number two found.
“The Fort Worth political strategist (Bryan Eppstein) helps elect politicians at every level in town, who turn right around and rubber-stamp his lucrative business deals.” – Texas Watchdog
Jon Perry is no one’s Rubber Stamp
I do not accept financial contributions from PACs or Special Interest Groups. My contributions come from you, the individual concerned voter. Vote Jon Perry for Fort Worth City Council.
Early Voting June 2nd – June 10th
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