Debate sparked in the Macon City Hall lobby over proposed changes to the police and fire retirement plan.
Pension board members demanded answers after a city council committee approved the plan Tuesday afternoon.
Mayor Robert Reichert responded to their questions, but leaders of the board say they're still not satisfied with the new proposed plan.
Reichert says the modifications were necessary to keep the plan compliant with IRS standards.
Pension board members say the city hired an attorney out of Atlanta who changed wording in the document just 24 hours before the council committee sat down to vote. They say they're most concerned about parts of the document that were added to give the city the ability to terminate the pension plan.
Reichert says an attorney hired by the pension board had already agreed to those changes, but board members fired back saying that wasn't true.
Jimmy Hartley, the director, says, "The attorney for the Firefighters Association and the FOP has confirmed that it is indeed a language change that could tremendously damage participants, fund members, and their beneficiaries, and so we're bringing that out and we're saying something about it."
Minutes before the council committee meeting, members received a copy of the document with the changes, and some of them say that wasn't enough time to fully understand the plan.
Councilman Rick Hutto says, "How can we be expected to approve something that is so important as the pension fund of our police and fire retirees without even seeing it in advance?"
To meet the IRS standards, council must pass the plan in tw consecutive meetings before October 4th.
"And if we don't ge this passed," says council member Lauren Benedict, "I'm vey concerned that our retirees, our fire and police retirees, could have adverse tax consequences. They could be taxed on some of their benefits that they're not taxed on now."
People with the pension board are concerne dtheir benefits would disappear all-together with hte wording in the plan given to council.
"There needs to be some safeguards or at the very least something in writing, some promises to employees that they're not going to be damaged in any way," says Hartley.
The proposal was struck down in full council Tuesday night. They did not refer the plan to a committee for further discussion at this time.