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Chattanooga City Council plans same-sex benefits vote tonight

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

Before Chattanooga City Council members vote tonight on whether to expand benefits to domestic partners of city employees, a local police union wants them to examine what benefits the current 2,700 city employees receive.

Fraternal Order of Police President Toby Hewitt said that, to rein in rising costs, the city has reduced overtime, cut benefits for most retirees and retirees' access to the wellness center at age 65 and now is studying ways to corral increasing costs of the police and firefighter pension fund.

The local union supports expanding benefits for employees' partners -- which would include gay and straight couples' partners -- but says city leaders first should weigh the cost of adding more people to the city's plan.

"There are serious issues on the table right now that adversely affect all of our members," Hewitt said in a prepared statement. "The fairness you are pursuing here should be equally applied to all the other concerns as well, rather than potentially making them worse. Please consider this before you vote."

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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