BALTIMORE - Changes made two years ago to the Baltimore fire and police pension plans were ruled " uconstitutional" Thursday by U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis, in a decision that will almost certainly be appealed.
Two years ago, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake ordered an overhaul of the pensions when the city faced a budget deficit. The new provisions delayed retirement for some officers and abolished cost-of-living increases for many retired officers and firefighters. The Mayor claimed the measures saved the city $65 million in fiscal year 2010.
The unions sued to overturn the revised plan immediately, setting of a contentious court battle.
"While the City was justified in acting to stabilize the actuarial footing of the Plan," the court found, "the Ordinance scheme was not 'necessary,' in the sense that the impairment far more drastically impaired the contractual rights of some Plan members than others while a perfectly evident, more moderate and even handed course would have served its purposes equally well."
Ian Brennan, spokesman for Mayor Rawlings-Blake, responded in a written statement Thursday night:
"The City Law department is carefully reviewing the ruling and reserves the right to appeal. The ruling deals with one of many provisions contained in the pension reform legislation and many parts of the legislation were previously upheld by the court. The Mayor remains committed to protecting the City's finances and the sustainability of the pension system."
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