Jacksonville Pension Board Sends Reform Measure Back to City Council With Changes in Mind

palm tree

The board of Jacksonville’s Police and Fire Pension fund was set to vote on the city’s pension reform measure on Monday. But instead of an up-or-down vote, the board has requested several changes to the measure and sent it back to the city council for approval.

Both entities need to approve the measure before it is passed into law.

The changes the board is requesting, according to News4Jax.com:

John Keane, executive director of the fund, said the board has several concerns that it will express to the city:

– Calls on city council to guarantee a funding source for its $40 million annual contribution required by the agreement.

– Not willing to accept reduced cost-of-living increase from the agreed 3 percent annual to a variable rate between 0 and 6 percent for active and retired police and firefighters. The board is requesting it be increased to 0 to 6 percent.

– City council approved a 0-10 percent rate for deferred retirement (DROP) each year. Pension board wants higher rate: 2-14.4 percent.

– The original deal with the mayor allowed the terms of the plan to be renegotiated after 10 years. City council changed that to three years, which is not acceptable to the pension board.

The board said a primary concern is making sure current employees are confident that the revised pension plan will give them a secure future.

Members feel the funding deficit was created by the city, so the changes should be made strictly on the backs of the employees.

“We’ve gotten to this point today simply by fact that city has not saved for a rainy day,” said Richard Tuten, a member of the pension fund’s board.

The board and the council have a self-set deadline of January 15 to come up with a final proposal.


Photo by  pshab via Flickr CC License

Idaho Fund Increases COLAs, Lowers Contribution Rates After “Banner” Year

Cornfield and blue skies

For the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI), fiscal year 2013-14 was a historic one. That’s because the fund returned 17.2 percent – not a staggering return (the S&P 500 returned around 30 percent over the same period), but still one of the best performances in the history of the fund.

The pension fund’s board has rewarded its members in light of the news. The reward includes a significant COLA boost for most retirees. From the Idaho Statesman:

The PERSI board approved a cost-of-living increase for retirees that includes the state-required 1 percent increase, an additional 1 percent increase and up to 2 percent more depending upon when pensioners retired.

Employees who retired between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2014, will get a 2 percent increase.Employees who retired between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010, will get a 2.08 percent increase. Employees who retired before July 1, 2008, will get a 4 percent increase.

The increase is contingent upon a likely 2 percent increase in the consumer price index, which is to be released Wednesday. If it’s less than 2 percent, the PERSI COLA may be slightly adjusted.

Both employees and employers are now looking at lower contribution rates, as well. From the Idaho Statesman:

The PERSI board also voted Tuesday to eliminate two future planned contribution rate increases for active employees and the Idaho government agencies that employ them.

This means employees do not have to worry about a reduction in take-home pay, employers will avoid an increase in their PERSI costs and the contribution rates stay at a lower percentage of pay than 15 years ago, PERSI officials said.


The PERSI board voted to lower firefighter fund contributions from 17.24 percent of payroll to 5 percent because the fund, which has been closed to new members since 1980, has reached 110 percent of its anticipated benefits. That means the 22 firefighter departments will collectively save $7.75 million every year.

PERSI members since 2007 had been limited to 1 percent cost-of-living increases.

Louisiana Fund Gives First Cost-of-Living Increase in 12 Years

Lousiana proof

The Municipal Police Employees Retirement System of Louisiana this week approved the first permanent cost-of-living increase for its members since January of 2002.

Members of the system will get a 3 percent COLA starting November 1, 2014. More details from KATC:

Retirees, surviving spouses and disabled employees will receive a three percent increase beginning November 1, 2014. Eligible members will receive a minimum increase of $20 per month.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the increase at its monthly meeting. Members include Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, Treasurer John Kennedy, and elected members of the municipal police community.

“It’s important that we continue to support the men and women who spent their careers protecting the people of Louisiana,” said Commissioner Nichols. “A permanent increase means they can better plan for the future.”

The last permanent cost of living adjustment (COLA) was a 2.7 percent increase in January 2002.

Act 113 of the 2008 Regular Session gave the board the authority to grant a three percent COLA to eligible retirees, survivors (widows and widowers), and beneficiaries. The Act was effective on July 1, 2008 and is a one-time only COLA.

According to the Act, the board cannot give another COLA until 2018.


Photo credit: “2002 LA Proof” by United States Mint. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons