The Pension Bonds vote is over and thankfully the citizens of Houston overwhelmingly approved the issuance of the bonds by 77 percent, the highest percentage of any of the bonds on the ballot.
This means that the City of Houston will issue bonds to pay the Houston Police Officers’ Pension System the $750 million it owes in back payments. This money, along with the changes that took place in July, will put our system on the road to full funding.
It took a team effort to get this passed. The original bill supported by HPOPS went through several changes before finally passing and getting signed by the governor. We were not pleased that the final bill required voter approval of the MONEY OWED because we knew it would be difficult explaining that this was money owed and not a bail out of our pension system.
Thankfully, voters appeared to educate themselves and vote in favor of the bonds.
A big thank you to Sen. Joan Huffman for carrying the bill and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for supporting it and encouraging other Republicans in the Senate to do the same. Of course, our dear friend Sen. John Whitmire fully supported the bill and made sure other Democrats did the same.
On the House side, Chairman Dan Flynn did a remarkable job carrying this key piece of legislation. Reps. Jim Murphy and Dan Huberty were vocal supporters of the bill. We were incredibly pleased that 103 House members voted yes for the bill. Those from the Greater Houston area who did not support us on the bill were the following:
Briscoe Cain, Cecil Bell, Wayne Faircloth, Jessica Farrar, Will Metcalf, Mary Ann Perez, Phil Stephenson, Valoree Swanson and Ed Thompson.
Voters also approved Proposition B, which will provide funding for police and fire buildings as well as vehicles. That bond proposal passed by 75 percent. Thanks to all of you who voted for these bonds and/or encouraged your family and friends to do the same.
Freebies at the HPOU
Occasionally, especially since Harvey, supporters of police will provide free items to the HPOU to be dispersed to officers. These have included sporting event tickets, concert tickets, holiday tickets, clothing, etc. It’s not an easy task distributing some items when we may have 2,000 or only 10. We have to dedicate staff to distribute these items while they continue doing their day-to-day assignments.
It seems each time we give these items out, someone complains about how it was done. The easy solution is to tell the generous folks that we are not interested in the items. This hurts everyone.
Therefore, please understand that sometimes we only have hours to disperse items that are dropped off at the HPOU and do the best we can to get the tickets out. Our board members are not given any priority treatment on the distribution of the freebies!
If you are fortunate to get a freebie, congrats. If not, good luck next time.
Happy Holiday Season
I pray each of you had a great Thanksgiving break and hope you got to spend at least one day with your family. As we enter the Christmas season, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018!