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Chief Dodd says pension reform is a factor in his retirement

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December 31st marks the final day in office for Chattanooga's police Chief Bobby Dodd, and he is speaking out for the first time on why he is stepping down.

Tensions are high right now over police and fire pensions. A task force has been presented a plan to save the city $126 million over the next 30 years. In the meantime, Dodd says the timing of his retirement is no coincidence.

Chief Dodd took to the radio waves Tuesday morning, speaking out on WGOW's 'The Morning Press' about why he is retiring.

"You know, there's a lot of factors. And people have asked me over and over, and I haven't given any interviews or talked to any of the media folks about leaving. I've had a lot of people on this speculating for me and a lot of people giving out the facts, I guess, as they understood them or whatever," said Dodd.

He says pension reform played a role in his decision.

"You know, absolutely, the pension issues are part of the reason why I'm leaving. That's absolutely the truth, and I'll go into that in more detail. There's other factors. There's changes, a lot of things that are different, a lot of things that I do...some I can accept. Some I don't like. There's a lot of things that went into my leaving. All you have to do here is 25 years, and I've got 25 and a half. Once you get your time in, and you're eligible to go, if things get too drastic or changes get too drastic or things change too much, you always have that as an option," said Dodd.

Channel 3 requested to talk with Mayor Andy Berke about Dodd's comments. His administration says he will not be talking any further about Dodd's retirement. But in a previous interview, Berke hinted pension reform was not a factor in Dodd leaving his post.

"Before I ever got started with a panel on pension reform, Chief Dodd and I discussed the fact his entire command staff was of retirement age," said Berke.

Berke also told Channel 3 Dodd's announcement came with other opportunities.

"As he looked to the future, he had this great opportunity in the private sector and I wish him the best of luck as he does what's right for him and his family," said Dodd.

But Dodd says nothing is written in stone, just yet.

"As of midnight tonight, I'll be unemployed. So, I haven't exactly accepted anything yet," said Dodd.

Deputy Chief Stan Maffett has been appointed interim chief. The pension board says the number of retirements this year has doubled from a typical year. The end-of-the-year deadline for the pension board to come up with a plan has been extended. It hopes to present a proposal at its February 6th meeting.

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