Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! As we do most weeks, we have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.
Here are this week’s top stories:
Some police in Connecticut may revert to DB plan by Chris Butera. In 2011, the Town of Branford, Connecticut moved their newly hired police officers from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution retirement plan. Since then, officers have trained with the department, but then leaving immediately after to move to other departments that offer a pension and a secure retirement. Branford is now considering a switch back and a vote on the move will occur next week. In the piece, Bridget Early, Executive Director of NPPC commented, “Employees [in a public service] took a look around and said, ‘I’m trained. I can go take my skills to a place that will compensate me according to my skill set, including ensuring that I can retire with dignity at the end of my career in public service,’” Early used the example of Palm Beach, Florida where the city made the exact same mistake: “During the course of their switch, they ended up spending upwards of $20 million in training costs just to have officers leave and go elsewhere.”
Matt Bevin wrongly tried to conceal the flaws in his pension plan, judge says by John Cheves. For a year and a half, Ellen Suetholz, coordinator of the Kentucky Public Pension Coalition, NPPC’s affiliate in-state, has been waging a court battle with the Bevin administration over the release of the actuarial analysis of the governor’s “Keeping the Promise” pension plan. This week, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled in Suetholz’s favor that the report should be released. In the article, Suetholz commented, “The public has a right to know the full story about these changes that are being proposed to our pension systems. When the analysis was not released — when we were told we could not have it — we assumed the numbers were bad for the governor. And just based on some of the judge’s comments, it sounds like we were right.”
PA lawmakers cling to pensions after pushing new state workers to adopt 401(k)-style plans by Jan Murphy. Not surprisingly, most Pennsylvania lawmakers, who passed pension reform in 2017, have decided to stick with their pension. The law passed in 2017 revamped the pension plans for future state workers and school employees, but gave a carve out for lawmakers: they could decide by the end of March of this year if they wanted to switch from the pension plan or choose one of the new options for new employees. Murphy writes that 198 of 253 lawmakers (78 percent) decided to stay with their pensions, including 43 of 50 freshman lawmakers, many of whom ran as pension plan reformers. This type of hypocrisy is not out of the ordinary, even for lawmakers who know that a pension provides a secure and dignified retirement.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!