Florida to 19 Local Pension Plans: Fix Funding Issues Now


Nineteen of Florida’s most underfunded local pension plans received “call to action” letters from the state Tuesday, calling for the systems to immediately begin formulating a plan to deal with their funding issues.

From the Florida Times-Union:

The 19 pension plans all are less than 50 percent funded, prompting the terse letter from the Department of Management Services, the state agency tasked with reviewing local pensions.

DMS Secretary Chad Poppell sent letters to Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund executive director John Keane and Raymond Ferngren, administrator of the Jacksonville Corrections Officers’ Pension Fund and the Jacksonville General Employees’ Disability Fund. The Alachua School Board Early Retirement Plan and Ocala General Employees’ Retirement System also received letters, and Jacksonville Chief Financial Officer Ronald Belton was copied.

The letter to Keane pointed to the Police and Fire Pension’s $1.6 billion unfunded liability and said current funding was only enough to pay 37.3 cents of every dollar owned to retirees and current employees.

“As a result, your plan should consider taking action to prevent future taxpayers from having to incur costs,” Poppell wrote.

Coincidentally, Poppell serviced as Jacksonville’s chief of human resources under Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton.

The Police and Fire Pension letter also mentions ongoing discussions with city officials to reform the pension, saying they “are not yet realized.”

“The Department of Management Services requests you immediately notify all active and retired members of the plan regarding the plan’s conditions and what actions will be taken to improve it,” it said.

It’s unclear whether the funds will have any punishment if they don’t comply with the letter’s demands.


Photo credit: “Bluefl”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bluefl.png#mediaviewer/File:Bluefl.png

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2 Responses to “Florida to 19 Local Pension Plans: Fix Funding Issues Now”

  1. […] mean, however, that Florida is letting pension funding slip under the radar. The state sent out letters to 19 pension funds last month demanding that they formulate a plan to shore up their funding […]

  2. […] On January 27th, 19 Florida pension funds received a “call to action” letter from the Florida De…informing them that reforms are needed to address their unfunded liabilities. A previous blog pointed out that while Florida’s state’s employee pension fund is 86% funded (better provisioned than 41 other U.S. states), some municipal pensions are less than 50% funded, posing a budgetary risk. Reforms are certainly needed, but what exact shape reforms should take might best be decided locally. […]

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