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Old 01-01-2015, 10:13 AM
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Default Public Pensions Watch 2015

Oh right. New year, new thread.

Old threads here:


1. Public plans in trouble, Sept 2008

2. Public plans in trouble, part 2, Jan 2010

3. Public Plan Watch III: the reckoning, Jan 2011

4. Public Pensions Watch IV: the saga continues, Jan 2012

5. Public Pensions Watch 2013, Jan 2013

6. Public Pensions Watch 2014, Jan 2014


....and if you like those threads, you may also be interested in:

Detroit bankruptcy watch

Muni watch

MEP watch

Post with comment letter summary for ASB on Public Pensions:

http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...postcount=1421
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:27 AM
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Yes, the first few stories are going to be from Dec 2014, but it's 2015 now and the other thread was at almost 1500 posts.

So here we go:

ILLINOIS

http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/27...llinois-felons

Quote:
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A new state law will make it tougher for felons to receive a public pension.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Monday giving Illinois' attorney general more power to stop pension payments to convicted felons.

Legislators sought the state law change after former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge was allowed to keep his pension. Burge was convicted of lying about torturing suspects.

The Illinois Supreme Court in July upheld a lower court ruling that Attorney General Lisa Madigan couldn't challenge a Chicago police pension board decision allowing Burge to keep his taxpayer-supported pension.


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Old 01-01-2015, 10:32 AM
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NEW JERSEY

https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2...nsion-picking/

Quote:
It’s that time of year again when elected officials who are also government employees and in the New Jersey retirement system look over the smorgasbord of benefits available to them and chow down.

Linden will get a new mayor tomorrow who today is also a county employee but is now having second thoughts about a campaign promise he made to leave that job according to an nj.com story:
Quote:
Mayor-elect Derek Armstead is re-thinking his plans and may hang on to his Union County job when he takes the oath of office for city’s top job later this week.
As mayor, Armstead said, he must join a different state pension system. Leaving his job in the county IT division would cause him to lose the 17 years accrued in the state Public Employee Retirement System.*
He also has 21 years in that system as a Linden city councilman. Armstead said he has been told that, as mayor, he would be in the separate defined contribution retirement program.

....
.....

The state set up an Enrollment Guide on their website to help elected officials determine eligibility but mayor-elect Armstead’s situation is still not clear as he is now getting credit for both his current jobs, as are two other Linden council people, Christopher Kolibas and Michele Yamakaitis. The DCRP will require him to deposit 5.5% for which he will get an employer match of 3%. Staying in PERS with both salaries will likely mean a doubling of his pension as long as the system remains solvent*.

The questions are whether a move to mayor from councilman is considered a newly elected position and how salaries in both positions will be treated for pension purposes with resolutions to these and related issues likely coming from those with a personal stake in the answers.
.
.
* He will NOT lose his 17 years of accrued service since benefits are vested after 10 years of service but that’s a quibbling point since he will likely lose that service anyway when the plan goes bankrupt.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:38 AM
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PENNSYLVANIA

http://www.sharonherald.com/news/bus...54b954735.html

Quote:
HARRISBURG (AP) — Nearly 200 former public employees in Pennsylvania have had their pensions seized for job-related misconduct over the past decade, from teachers who engaged in sexual acts with students to judges in the kids-for-cash scandal, lawmakers involved in using their staff to campaign and three members of a powerful Pittsburgh-based political family.

Records obtained by The Associated Press under the Right-to-Know Law indicate 104 people in the State Employees’ Retirement System have seen their public pensions forfeited since the start of 2005. About a third involved theft — other major categories were bribery, fraud, extortion, forgery and tampering with records.

The Public School Employees’ Retirement System reported 77 pension seizures over that same period, about half of them triggered by a 2004 law that added sexual offenses involving students to the list of forfeiture-triggering crimes. Between them, the two systems have about 700,000 active workers, retirees and beneficiaries.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:46 AM
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ILLINOIS

http://www.businessinsider.com/illin...crisis-2014-12

Quote:
James Spiotto, a lawyer at Chapman Strategic Advisors, argues that if a state is unable rather than unwilling to pay its pensions, then the well-being of its citizens overrides any constitutional protections. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that states cannot abdicate their responsibility to provide essential services and infrastructure. And if Illinois cuts public services yet further the state will lose more taxpayers, resulting in "a death spiral," says Mr Spiotto.

Union representatives disagree with this scenario. Dan Montgomery, the president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, believes Mr Quinn's reform is illegal and that the state must find ways to pay up, for instance by extending the repayment schedule of its debt and increasing tax revenue by closing loopholes and expanding a sales tax on services.

Mr Rauner was elected on a promise that he would not make his predecessor's temporary increase of income and corporate tax permanent. But he has not explained how Illinois will cope with the loss of more than $7 billion in annual revenue. Nor has he laid out any broader plans for fixing the pensions mess.

For a start he might look to Washington and the budget deal hashed out in Congress. This allows some distressed private-sector pension plans to cut the benefits of retirees. In Illinois, though, more inventive measures may be needed.



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/illin...#ixzz3NaLIFMJR
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:47 AM
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ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA

http://www.goerie.com/article/20141228/NEWS02/312289904

Quote:
he city of Erie's employee pension plans remain underfunded by tens of millions of dollars -- a situation faced by many municipalities across Pennsylvania.


However, Erie's plans are a long way from being in financial crisis, according to the Pennsylvania Employee Retirement Commission's latest report on the health of more than 3,200 local government pension plans in Pennsylvania.

....
Public employee pensions are considered distressed by the state if they are funded at less than 90 percent.


Collectively, the city's pension plans have assets of $227.9 million and liabilities of $309.3 million, which means they are underfunded by roughly $81.4 million.


The pension figures are based on 2013 actuarial data, according to the PERC. In the commission's previous pension report, issued in 2012, Erie also received a "minimally distressed" rating, with employee pensions funded at 75 percent.

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Old 01-01-2015, 12:23 PM
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I have a huge queue to purge, and I may be repeating stories from the other thread.... sorry.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:24 PM
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DETROIT, MICHIGAN

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...ooms/21018327/

Quote:
Detroit — Low-income city retirees have until the close of business Wednesday to apply for financial assistance that could soften the blow to their monthly pension checks as a result of Detroit’s bankruptcy.

The state began accepting one-time applications in December for the initiative aimed at supplementing pension payments to qualified retirees affected by the city’s debt-cutting plan.

To be considered, a pensioner must be 60 or older and have an income that is at 140 percent of the 2013 federal poverty level.

The requirements vary based on the number of dependents, but range from no more than an annual income of $16,338 for a single person to $22,022 for a household of two, and $33,390 for a household of four.

The Income Stabilization Fund Program was created as part of the bankruptcy resolution and seeks to prevent eligible retirees from falling below the poverty line as a result of the impending pension cuts. The program allocates $20 million over 14 years for eligible retirees from either of the city’s two pension funds.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:25 PM
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NEW JERSEY

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf...ng_audits.html

Quote:
TRENTON — A veteran State Police trooper who admitted this year to falsifying audit reports of law enforcement agencies that have access to the state's sensitive criminal justice database has had his pension reduced by nearly a third as a result of his crime.

Acting Sgt. 1st Class Glenn Mannino, 52, of Little Silver, a nearly 27-year member of the force, pleaded guilty in February to fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records and agreed to give up his job and be permanently barred from public employment in the state.

Mannino was approved by the State Police Retirement System board in November for retirement retroactive to June 1, on the condition his pension be reduced.

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Old 01-01-2015, 12:26 PM
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BRAZIL

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...0UD17820141229

this may be more Social Security-type program being cut and not public pensions

Quote:
Dec 29 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government said on Monday it will limit unemployment and pension benefits, in a move that aims to shore up depleted finances and regain investor confidence.

Incoming planing minister Nelson Barbosa said in a briefing that the measures would save the government up to 18 billion reais ($6.7 billion) a year or 0.3 percent of Brazil's gross domestic product next year.

.....
Brazil has some of the world's most generous unemployment and pension benefits, which analysts say represent a huge fiscal liability for a country that has more young workers than retirees.

Brazil's widow pension payments have doubled in the last seven years and amount to about 3.2 percent of GDP. Countries with a much older population such as France and Japan spend 1.5 percent and 1.2 percent on those pensions respectively.

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