April 22, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Police-Fire Task Force Chair, Vice-Chair Named

Mayor Jim O’Neal named Jerry Fenstermaker as the Chair of the Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizen’s Task Force and Jerry Harmison as Vice-Chair of the Task Force at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Fenstermaker will be a non-voting member of the Task Force whose role will be to facilitate the process of the Task Force’s work, Mayor O’Neal said. Mr. Harmison was one of the 15 Task Force members selected by City Council and he will serve as a voting member.

Mr. Fenstermaker is the Chief Executive Officer of the Freedom Financial Group. He was named to the position in 2001 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee to complete the firm’s Plan of Reorganization. Under his leadership, the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was profitable in 2008. He has more than 30 years of financial management experience in Springfield, St. Louis, Albuquerque, NM, New York, Puerto Rico and Panama. He served as chairman of a task force to develop the City of Albuquerque’s Strategic Plan in 1983.

He has a Master’s degree in business administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army for two years. He cites skills in problem solving, managing change and motivating groups to achieve specific objectives among his strengths.

Mr. Harmison is a Springfield attorney in his own firm of Harmison & Pearman whose expertise is in workers compensation and public school law. His legal work includes pension-benefit cases. He served on the Springfield Board of Education, including a term as President, from 2000-2006.

He has volunteered for a number of other civic organizations, including the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce; the Sunrise Rotary Club and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He was named one of 10 Outstanding Young Missourians in 1996 and received the 1997 Franklin O. Kenworthy Award as the outstanding community volunteer for Leadership Springfield alumni. Mr. Harmison earned his law degree from Drake University.

“I am confident we have selected good people for this task force,” Mayor O’Neal said. “Now we need to move forward with a strong process to produce a product that will be supported by taxpayers, City Council and the employees and retirees in the pension plan.”

The Mayor said he expects the Task Force to hold its first meeting early next week. He wants the Task Force to start with a twice-weekly meeting schedule for the first few weeks. He said his goal is for the Task Force to present one or two proposals to the City Council for consideration by July 31, 2009.

For more information, contact: Louise Whall, Director of Public Information, 864-1010.

View a list of task force members (pdf)
Read the charge to the task force. (pdf)
city of springfield

Department of Public Information

840 Boonville Avenue • P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1010 • Fax: 417-864-1114 • springfieldmo.gov