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Fulford to state lawyers in pension case: “I disagree with you.”

by John Kennedy | October 26th, 2011

Lawyers for the state were grilled Wednesday by Leon Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford over the Legislature’s move to rewrite the Florida Retirement System and pull 3 percent payroll contributions from some 700,000 government workers.

Lawmakers were able to use the more than $1 billion from teachers, state workers and other public employees as savings last spring, helping cover what then was an almost $3.8 billion budget shortfall. The Florida Education Association and other public employee unions argued before Fulford that the change is an unconstitutional violation of collective bargaining guarantees. 

But attorneys Doug Hinson and David Godofsky, from the blue-chip law firm, Alston & Bird, representing the state, argued that past case law gives lawmakers authority to make such revisions — which they labeled a “modification.”

In an unusual move, Fulford left the bench to get a better look at slides Hinson was projecting on a courtroom viewing screen. En route to the floor, Fulford delivered a stunning message:

“I disagree with you,” she said.

Fulford, who last month ruled lawmakers violated the constitution by approving a massive prison privatization plan for South Florida in the budget — rather than a separate bill — said she doesn’t know how she’ll decide the pension case.  But she acknowledged having a “fundamental difference,” with the state’s interpretation of its authority.

Arguments continue this afternoon.

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11 Responses to “Fulford to state lawyers in pension case: “I disagree with you.””

  1. Mark Hunein Says:

    Thank God for Judge Fulford. She is so good. The state lawyers are losers and liars and filthy soul-sucking dogs. I vomit in their mouths and into their mothers’ mouths.

  2. Donna Says:

    i Think Those State Lawyers Are Rick Scott’s Puppet Ass Liars Who In The Hell Is Gonna Stand And Say They Voted For That Man!!!?? Oh I Know The Same State Workers He’s Taking Money From!!! So Now All Of U Voted For Him It’s Coming Back To Bite U In The Ass!!!!

  3. Sandra Says:

    They say run the state like a business. Would any CEO (Governor) attack his own workers? Shame on all the republicans. This governor said he wanted to stop lawsuits. He has created more litigation than ever before. Its costing tax payers millions on cases he will lose and the attorneys are getting rich. This Governor should be impeached.

  4. John Sweraingen Says:

    I think the state employees SHOULD contribute to their own retirement.It’s not a “Rick Scott”deal(I don’t like him either)The fact is that Florida is the ONLY state that doesn’t have state employees that contribute to a retirement plan.Even FEDERAL em-loyees have to contribute to a retirement plan.As far as those who say the are police or fireman etc,nobody made you choose your job,you did that on your own free will.Your work is apprecieated,but that alone isn’t any reason for you to be excused from contributing to your retirement.The public shouldn’t have to pay for everything.

  5. Luanne Says:

    We already contribute to our retirement. All of the money is put into a “pot” and after retirement is paid THEN whatever is left is used to determine pay scale. Public employees took a huge HIT in pay back in the 70s in order to have the retirement taken out before pay is determined. The extra 3% is NOT EVEN GOING TO OUR RETIREMENT. It is being used to balance the state budget. Florida’s pension fund is one of the healthiest in the nation. Rick Scott thinks he can balance the budget on the backs of state employees. He’s about to get a wake-up call.

  6. Donna Says:

    hi John sounds like jealous and envy u can’t speak on something u never had and never will get!!

  7. Ms Vicky Says:

    To John Sweraingen: Of course the state can require workers to pay whatever the state deems reasonable and fair, John…BUT THEY CAN’T CHANGE THE CONTRACT AFTER IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AND SIGNED! A “contract” is a legally binding document for BOTH SIDES! The issue is that people signed on to a job/career with an understanding of what was expected from both sides. If the state wants to change the rules, it MUST do so for new employees so they can determine whether they will sign on. Present Police, Fire fighters and teachers in this great state of Floriduh entered into a legal contract with the state. If the rules can change for employers, I suppose the employees will also be able to decide upon different hours and schedules. Would you like that next time you need the help of one of the above?

  8. John Sweraingen Says:

    Show the “contract”.Everyone else pays into their retirement,so state of Florida employees can too.The public shouldn’t be burdened with the bill.

  9. Ms Vicky Says:

    John, SHOW THE CONTRACT? You must be kidding. State employees get a statement every year documenting their salaries based on the agreement of “deferred compensation.” That means state employees agreed to making a certain amount of money and receiving a pension that they DON’T PAY INTO. It is aprt of their salary.
    It would be better for you to go to the mat on issues with which you are familiar, John. You obviously do not understand this one, so don’t “burden” yourself with the facts!

  10. The Corrector Says:

    To: John Sweraingen

    Sir, I wish you were alittle more informed than most. But you seem to be brain washed like everyone else reading the media properganda with out doing ANY investigation on your own.

    you said “The fact is that Florida is the ONLY state that doesn’t have state employees that contribute to a retirement plan”

    well unfortunatly that is incorrect.

    Here is an example. NORTH DAKOTA

    Just go there and tell me how much they have to pay into there retirement. I belive it says “Employee Cost $ 0 ”

    So….I guess Florida is NOT the ONLY state to not require retirement contrabution. HECK if you read that page they don’t even have to pay for health insurance yet Florida workers have to pay up to 300 a paycheck for insurance.

    Please check your facts before you make a statment that is false. All I want here is the TRUTH and everyone needs to know it.

  11. Ms Vicky Says:

    Last night, the great state of Ohio sent a clear message about where Americans stand on the issue of union representation and preserving the rights of middle class workers.
    Listen up, Governor Scott, for you will be the next one apologizing to the people to whom you did not listen. YOU AND YOUR CRONIES WILL BE HEARING FROM ALL OF US IN NOVEMBER 2012!

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