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Firefighter pension meeting in Englewood draws angry crowd |

Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 8:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 11:02 a.m.

ENGLEWOOD - About 70 residents gathered in the shade of Englewood Firehouse No. 4 on Wednesday morning to tell their firefighters they loved them — but they hate their pensions.

"This is absolutely ridiculous," yelled Englewood resident Richard Doonan, chiding the third proposed bump to firefighters' pensions in as many years.

Scarcely attended in better economic times, the meeting of the Fire District Board of Commissioners swiftly erupted with angered debate — a foreshadowing, perhaps, of what is to come in public employee pension bouts boiling up in Florida.

Locally, Sarasota and the town of Longboat Key are also feeling pressure from citizens bent on trimming pensions for public employees.

Dubbed "Wisconsin micro" by one attendee, citizens butted heads with firefighters in their own house.

They came to oppose a plan to add soon-to-be retired firefighters into a Deferred Retirement Option Plan, which would effectively increase firefighter pensions, which some have argued are already lucrative.