Jeffrey Buddle, President of Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 1664, which represents around 1,500 firefighters in Maryland, wrote a strongly worded letter to members of the Montgomery County Council, asking them to reject a divestment resolution, which calls on county pension funds to sell off traditional energy stocks in order to make a political statement.
Asking the critical question, “what purpose does the resolution actually serve?” Mr. Buddle pointed out that the resolution would have no discernible effect on the actual use of the fossil fuels that the resolution is supposed to target:
The resolution does nothing to change, nor could it do anything to change, the primary delivery methods of core government services.
Buddle also underscored that the money in pension fund belongs to its recipients, not the County Government, and that the Council should not be dictating how the money could or should be used:
Once the money from the various sources is deposited into the pension fund it is no longer County taxpayer money but rather the money belongs to the plan participants for the sole purpose of providing pension benefits when an employee becomes eligible to receive them.
Finally, Buddle argued that the proposed resolution likely runs counter to the fiduciary duty of fund managers:
Injecting new parameters called for by the resolution into the Trustee’s decision-making process solely for political purposes runs counter to the Trustees’ fundamental fiduciary duties and should be rejected by the City Council.
Council members are expected to vote on May 16 on the divestment resolution. The County Council should reject the resolution for reasons highlighted by the IAFF or at the very least delay the vote so that Montgomery County residents have sufficient time to weigh in on this issue.
Read the fire fighter association’s full letter here.