Texas First Responders Groups Oppose Governor Abbott’s Appointment to the State Pension Review Board of Texas

AUSTIN – The Texas Municipal Police Association, Fraternal Order of Police Texas State Lodge, Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, Harris County Deputies’ Organization, Dallas Police Association, Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341, Dallas Fire Fighters Association, Texas State Association of Fire Fighters, Houston Police Retired Officers’ Association, and the Houston Police Officers’ Union stand unanimously in opposition to the appointment of Mr. Josh McGee to serve on the State Pension Review Board of Texas.

Mr. McGee is a high profile, paid advocate for the Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation. In his executive position at the Foundation, Mr. McGee has been the chief architect in attacking & attempting to abolish law enforcement officers’ and fire fighters’ earned pension benefits in Texas and other states.

Our collective organizations are at a loss as to why Mr. McGee, a highly compensated anti-law enforcement and fire fighter pension benefit lobbyist and strategist would be legitimately considered, much less appointed to such an important state advisory agency by Governor Abbott.

Mr. McGee is in no way impartial and in our view will utilize his appointed position to steer the State Pension Review Board toward achieving his employer’s agenda of taking law enforcement officers’ and fire fighters’ earned pension benefits. We are also concerned that part of the Arnold Foundation agenda would seek to eliminate the line-of-duty death benefit pensions for the widows and children of slain first responders.

In our opinion Mr. McGee’s objectivity is completely and totally compromised due to his current employment. There is no argument that Mr. McGee’s appointment creates a glaring conflict of interest as it relates to serving on the State Pension Review Board of Texas. The only ethical resolution to this very serious situation, short of Governor Abbott withdrawing Mr. McGee’s appointment, is to at the very least, require him as a condition of the appointment, resign his position with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

In closing, we are collectively disappointed and shocked that as supporters of Governor Abbott as well as pension stakeholders, we were caught completely off guard by this important appointment. We believed that our standing with Governor Abbott would have at least provided us a forum to express our very valid concerns related to the negatives Mr. McGee’s appointment raise. Unfortunately, that did not happen. And now we are placed in a difficult public position of exposing what an ill-advised and divisive appointment Governor Abbott has made.