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  #61  
Old 01-11-2017, 06:35 PM
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SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
CALIFORNIA

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/...110-story.html

Quote:
County supervisors vote themselves pay raise

San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to increase their own salaries by more than $19,000 a year, despite public comment from dozens of opponents.

“The formula for establishing supervisors' salaries has not been adjusted in decades,'' Supervisor Ron Roberts said before the 4-1 vote. “Board members salaries have increased less than one percent over the last nine years,and the adjustment before us today is fair and reasonable.''

Newly seated Supervisor Kristin Gaspar cast the lone dissenting vote, as did her predecessor, Dave Roberts, when the raise was first proposed last month.


.....
The pay hikes will cost the county an extra $17,688 per supervisor in the remainder of the current fiscal year, and $88,438 for the next fiscal year. The supervisors will also get an increased pension when they leave office.


http://www.kpbs.org/news/2017/jan/09...payouts-durin/

Quote:
County Supervisors Add To Their Pension Payouts During Last Term In Office

On Tuesday, item #7 on the San Diego County Supervisors’ agenda is the final reading of an ordinance that effectively increases their pay by about 12 percent within the next year.

This is not simply a pay raise; this is a step-up in the formula by which their pay is raised. In other words, it increases the size of San Diego County supervisors' pay and benefit increases indefinitely into the future.

.....
Hong said the Taxpayers Association is more concerned about the longer-term costs.

“Because that pension is based on the highest salary earned, it’s not just the immediate bottom line for the year, but there’s also future implications with respect to pension benefits,” he said. “Right now, here in San Diego County, it’s almost $800 per man, woman and child that’s responsible for unfunded pension benefits.”

San Diego County’s pension fund has more than $2 billion dollars of unfunded liability; the exact amount changes depending on market returns each year.
.....
Hong reiterated that since salaries and pensions are paid with taxpayer dollars, the net effect is an increase in taxpayer liability.

.....
With the elections past, the supervisors have little to lose. They are all, except newly elected supervisor Kristin Gaspar, termed out and due to retire in either 2018 or 2020. Their pensions are based on their final year’s salary.

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  #62  
Old 01-11-2017, 06:37 PM
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DALLAS, TEXAS

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/01...stain-some-pe/

Quote:
Whitmire says he may abstain from some pension votes

After some Dallas City Council members voiced concerns this week over Whitmire’s work at a law firm whose client list includes city pension fund boards, the Houston Democrat said he would likely abstain from voting on Dallas-specific bills.

HOUSTON — Whether — and how — one of the Texas Legislature’s chief champions of police officers and firefighters gets involved with legislation addressing mounting financial crises with first responders’ pension funds could depend on which cities are impacted by potential bills.

State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, works for Locke Lord, a law firm whose clients include pension fund boards in Dallas and Houston — cities currently beset by multibillion-dollar pension shortfalls. Because municipal workers’ retirement funds are largely governed by the state, both cities are expected to seek legislative approval of their respective plans to shore up the beleaguered funds.

Whitmire said that while his firm represents pension funds in the cities, he does not work on those accounts and he never talks to professional colleagues about government clients. But after some Dallas City Council members voiced concerns this week over Whitmire’s political role in Austin and his professional position inside the pension funds’ federal lobbying firm, the Democrat said he would likely abstain from voting on Dallas-specific bills “out of an abundance of caution.”

“I go out of my way to avoid the conflicts,” he told The Texas Tribune on Thursday.

.....
Dallas officials blame part of their pension woes on the fact that pension members largely control benefits while the city has to cover much of the costs. Dallas leaders have indicated that they will seek legislative changes that give the council more power over benefits. That's something else Whitmire said he's likely to vocally oppose or filibuster if it applies to the entire state.

“I am fearful of how the city administration would either borrow or take money from the pensions to operate the city,” Whitmire said.

Gates said it doesn't make sense for Whitmire to pick and choose which pension matters will draw his involvement.

"Either you have a conflict or not," Gates said. "That gray area still makes me feel uncomfortable."

Whitmire said pensions are not just a financial matter. He said that police officers and firefighters spend their lives working high-risk, high-stress jobs at lower pay than if they went into private-sector jobs and that dramatically upending retirement benefits could cause mass retirements and make future recruiting more difficult for cities.

"Their pension is why they put their life on the line," he said.


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  #63  
Old 01-11-2017, 06:38 PM
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DALLAS EMPLOYEES
TEXAS

http://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner...-year-i-guess/

Quote:
City of Dallas Employees’ Pension Had a Pretty Decent Year, I Guess
What do I know? All my money is in pork bellies.

The pension for the city of Dallas employees (aka the Employees’ Retirement Fund) put out a press release a bit ago crowing about their 2016 numbers. You can read the full release below. Net of fees, the ERF did 9.08 percent last year. Pretty good little year. Of course, if they’d taken the entire $3.2 billion fund, bought an ETF tied to the the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and reinvested the dividends, they would have gotten about a 16 percent return. [checks 401(k) statement from last year, decides to shut mouth, just post ERF press release]

Quote:
Employees’ Retirement Fund of the City of Dallas
Announces Solid Investment Returns Topping 9% for 2016

Dallas, Texas (January 10, 2017) — The Employees’ Retirement Fund of the City of Dallas (ERF) announced solid investment returns today to support the pensions of the city’s civilian employees. The fund reported annualized one-year (2016) returns, net of fees, of 9.08 percent. The fund’s annualized returns, net of fees, was 8.82 percent for the past five years and 8.52 percent over thirty years. The fund manages assets of more than $3.2 billion and is more than 80 percent funded.

“These returns represent the commitment of our board and professional management to a diversified portfolio of quality conservative investments in partnership with the best internal and external management teams,” said John D. Jenkins, Chairman ERF Board of Directors. “City of Dallas employees work hard and contribute a significant amount of their salaries to the pensions they earn when they retire.”

The ERF Board, Dallas City Council and Dallas voters recently approved changes to the plan that will reduce pension liabilities by $2.15 billion over the next 30 years while maintaining the plan’s financial integrity and providing competitive benefits. The adjustment in benefits began in January 2017 for new city employees that takes into account longer life spans for retirees.

“These changes will provide future city employees with a secure retirement while assuring that the plan will maintain a strong financial position,” said Jenkins. “We appreciate the city council and public’s support and will continue to manage the fund for growth through conservative diversified investments.”
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  #64  
Old 01-11-2017, 06:39 PM
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HONOLULU, HAWAII
POSSIBLE CRIMINAL PENSIONER

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/3...ion-to-pension

Quote:
Embattled HPD chief to get big payoff to retire, in addition to pension

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha isn't just retiring under pressure. He's getting a hefty payout to walk away.

Additional Links
Embattled HPD Chief Kealoha agrees to retire amid FBI investigation
The Honolulu Police Commission and Kealoha have agreed to a deal worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, sources say. That's in addition to the retirement benefits Kealoha is already entitled to receive.

"It's just a slap in the face to the community," said attorney Victor Bakke.

Kealoha agreed to retire Friday rather than be forced out.

Details of the deal were worked out behind closed doors last week and Police Commission Chair Max Sword refused to provide any details of the settlement until January 18, when the commission will vote to approve it, giving the public no chance to comment.

Kealoha is a suspect in an FBI public corruption case. The decision ends the police career for a chief who was once considered a rising star, but who has been embroiled for more than a year in an ongoing public corruption case.

Kealoha was on put on paid leave last month after receiving a "target letter" from federal prosecutors in connection with the case.

Federal Public Defender Ali Silvert called on the police commission release the terms of Kealoha's settlement agreement.
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  #65  
Old 01-11-2017, 06:46 PM
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NEW YORK STATE

http://www.wgrz.com/news/local/new-y...sion/383013879

Quote:
More lawmakers to collect salary and pension

ALBANY -- Add three more state lawmakers to the ranks of those collecting a salary and a pension from their public job.

Assembly members Tom Abinanti of Westchester County and Dov Hikind of Brooklyn, as well as Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, Otsego County, put in their retirement papers last month to a collect a pension along with the legislative salaries after they were re-elected in November, records show.

State law allows elected officials who were in government service before 1995 to collect their pensions at age 65, even if they stay in the same job.

The three new so-called double dippers join a dozen state Assembly members and six senators who last year collected a pension and a salary from the same position. A few of them have since left the Legislature.

Abinanti defended the decision to collect his pension, saying he is 70 years old and wants the benefit to aid his wife and autistic son.

His pension, which is based on nearly 32 years of state and local service, will be about $40,000 a year.
"This is deferred compensation, and there comes a point in your life when you have to collect that deferred compensation," he said.

He earns $79,500 as a legislator, and this year will get an extra $12,500 as chairman of the Assembly Committee on Government Administration.

Abinanti also works part-time as an attorney, and he earned between $20,000 to $50,000 in outside income in 2015, records in July showed.

Seward, 65, who was treated for bladder cancer last year, could get as much as $75,000 a year in a pension, based on calculations from the state Comptroller's Office website.

He earns $104,500 as a senator: a $79,500 base salary and $25,000 stipend for a leadership position.

Seward said he chose to take the pension to ensure his wife would get the benefit if he passed away. He said he's healthy after the cancer bout, but the ordeal made him more cognizant of his retirement choices.

"This is an option that is available to me," he said. "I decided to exercise the option, quite frankly, to protect my wife."
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  #66  
Old 01-11-2017, 06:47 PM
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TAIWAN TEACHERS

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/n...0-teachers.htm

Quote:
100,000 teachers threaten to take to streets over pensions

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's teachers have threatened to go on a de facto strike next week to protest the government's pension reform plan that promises to delay their retirement.

eaders of the National Federation of Teachers Unions on Friday called on its members to "collectively" take a leave of absence on Monday. Taiwan's teachers are forbidden by law to go on a strike.

The NFTU leaders said they expected 100,000 teachers nationwide to respond to their call to action, which will also include flooding President Tsai Ing-wen's Facebook page with messages and organizing demonstrations at local government offices.

The pension reform is seeking to delay teachers' retirement age to 60. The current system allows most of them to retire in their early 50s.
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  #67  
Old 01-11-2017, 06:48 PM
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PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA

http://tucson.com/news/local/govt-an...2da9f82d8.html

Quote:
County faces $4M increase in pension costs next fiscal year


Pima County is facing more than $4 million in additional retirement costs for the coming fiscal year, a result of a recently passed proposition and reductions in investment-return assumptions.

County contributions to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System — the pension plan for firefighters and law enforcement workers — will increase by more than 10 percent for sheriff’s deputies, resulting in additional costs of $3.1 million, according to a memo from County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.

Smaller increases are on tap for probation and correction officers, as well as investigators with the county attorney’s office. The total increase for all other county employees, whose pensions are covered by the Arizona State Retirement System, is $58,000.

As it stands, the increased costs are not budgeted for in fiscal year 2018, and would have to be “accommodated in next year’s budget through a tax increase or cost shifts from other programs,” Huckelberry wrote.

Tom Burke, a deputy county administrator, said that a 4-cent property-tax increase per $100 of valuation would cover the increases, though he clarified that no such decision has been made.

“Some of this is going to be very difficult for the department to absorb on its own,” said Sheriff Mark Napier, whose department will incur around 88 percent of the increased costs. “There’s a limit to the cuts that we can make on our own without significant impacts on service delivery.”

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“We’ll find a way to make this work,” he added later.

Proposition 124, which ties benefit increases to the consumer price index and caps them at 2 percent annually, was approved by voters in May 2016.

....
Additionally, the retirement system reduced its investment-return assumptions from 7.85 percent to 7.5 percent, “resulting in a reduction in funding levels,” according to a recently released financial report on several state pension trust funds.

As of June 30, the public safety retirement system has less than half of what it needs to fund benefits for current retirees and members paying into the system, according to the same report.

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Old 01-11-2017, 06:58 PM
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RIVERSIDE
CALIFORNIA
PENSION OBLIGATION BONDS

http://www.pe.com/articles/city-822601-debt-bonds.html

Quote:
Are Riverside's pension bonds a problem?
Some city officials want to pay it off using new sales tax dollars.

As Riverside City Council members consider how to spend an estimated $48million in annual revenue from the November sales tax measure, city officials plan to remind them of one big, inescapable obligation: millions in pension bond debt.

Cities, school districts and other government agencies around the country have struggled to keep up with payments into funds that cover workers’ pensions. In the past few decades, some turned to bonds as a partial solution.

In 2004 and 2005, Riverside used bonds to borrow nearly $150 million and paid the money to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to shrink the city’s unfunded liability, or the projected amount needed to pay current and future retirees.
Most of Riverside’s pension bond debt has been steadily decreasing the way a home mortgage would as the city makes annual payments on interest and chunks of the principal.

But there’s $30 million that has been untouched because the city has only paid interest on it so far. City officials say that’s a problem they want to fix.

“By issuing (the bonds) as interest only, we have never touched the heart of the problem,” Assistant City Manager Marianna Marysheva said.

On top of that, since 2008 that $30 million has been held as short-term rather than long-term debt, so the city has to resell it every year – plus pay interest.
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  #69  
Old 01-11-2017, 07:00 PM
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CALPERS
CALIFORNIA

http://www.record-bee.com/opinion/20...t-on-taxpayers

Quote:
Backroom CalPERS deal piles pension debt on taxpayers

Politics trumped prudent fiscal management when CalPERS, labor and Brown administration officials held a closed-door confab last month to set the pension system’s key investment return rate.

The rate, which should be based on professional market forecasts, is the most critical determinant of how much state and local governments must contribute each year.

A lower rate means the pension system anticipates earning less on investments and consequently will need more from employer contributions. That, in turn, leaves less money for workers’ salaries and benefits, which is why labor leaders push to keep the investment rate as high as possible.

But if the rate is set too high, and investment returns fail to meet the forecast, the pension fund will come up short, leaving debt for taxpayers to bear. That sort of inaccurate forecasting largely explains why CalPERS is already about $170 billion short, with only 63.5 percent of the assets it should have.

That’s also why the debt will likely get worse after the privately brokered deal, which was reached on the morning of Sunday Dec. 18 in the office of state Finance Director Michael Cohen and ratified by the CalPERS board three days later.

Before the meeting, CalPERS staff had suggested, but never formally recommended, lowering the return rate from 7.5 percent to 7. The three factions agreed to the change — but decided to phase it in over eight years.

That’s right: Eight years. Until then, even if investments earn 7 percent annually, the pension system will continue to rack up more taxpayer debt.

Moreover, the 7 percent target is not low enough. CalPERS announced last month that it hadn’t hit that average over the last 20 years and, going forward, it estimates that there’s only roughly a 1-in-4 chance that it will do so.

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Old 01-11-2017, 07:01 PM
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OREGON

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/i...on_the_ta.html

Quote:
Pension reforms back on the table for 2017 legislative session

Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, and Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, teed up what could be the most contentious debate of the upcoming legislative session by introducing two bills to make money-saving changes to Oregon's public employee retirement system.

If, that is, Democrats allow a hearing on either measure.

The pension changes offered in the bills are a subset of the list that Knopp and Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, put together last fall. They did so after holding an informational meeting at the capitol to explore ways to reduce the fund's $22 billion unfunded liability and the budget-busting spike in required contributions from public employers.

The concepts also are familiar to legislative leaders, the governor, public employees, their unions and lawyers - all of whom have been reluctant to discuss any changes that would reduce members' pension benefits. With voters' rejection of Measure 97's tax increases and the state facing a $1.7 billion budget deficit, however, the debate may be back come February.

Knopp said the proposals in his bills were selected from the larger list because they have a better chance for broader, bipartisan support and create the most savings.

"I'm confident we're going to have hearings on PERS, and I think it will happen fairly early," Knopp said. "We're going to have to deal with these fundamental structural issues."

.....
The proposals in Senate Bills 559 and 560 include:

Redirecting employees' required 6 percent retirement contributions to support the pension fund beginning Jan. 1, 2018. Those contributions currently go into a supplemental investment account that belongs to the employee, making Oregon one of the only states that requires no pension contribution from employees. Redirecting the contributions would not reduce pension liabilities, but could offset as much as $600 million a year in contributions from employers.

Capping a members' final average salary used in the calculation of their benefits at $100,000. The change would apply prospectively, so the only limit for service rendered before Jan. 1, 2018, would be a $265,000 federal limit that applies to public employees hired after 1995. The cap would have little impact on rank and file employees, but would affect higher paid managers, coaches and, in particular, doctors working at Oregon Health & Science University. PERS actuary, Milliman Inc., says this proposal would reduce the pension system's total liabilities by $3.3 billion and could lower required contributions from employers by about $285 million a year.

Finally, the bills would change the calculation of final average salary so it is the average of five years of wages instead of three years. The change would reduce average salaries used in the annuity calculation and temper pension spiking by reducing the impact of big pay raises or heavy overtime in the final years of employment. The actuary said this measure would reduce the system's total liabilities by $700 million and cut required contributions from employers by about $65 million per year.

Greg Hartman, a lawyer for the PERS coalition of public employees who successfully challenged most of the last round of pension changes, said he wasn't surprised to see the smaller list of reform ideas, as the others being discussed "were pretty clearly illegal."

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