Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Pension Is Described As "Stressed".

"By 2009, DeKalb was running the highest deficit of any of the metro counties, despite boosting contributions years before".

This should really scare you. Click here to get that sinking feeling in your stomach.


Anonymous said...

An informative article by the AJC. The author, Russell Grantham does a good job of presenting the events driving the loss of money in the Pension funds.
The primary forces were the market crash and the continued payouts to retirees. Once the market had recovered, unlike our 457K plans which recovered to full value, the pension plan was depleted by the continued outlays to the pensioners, plus the ill-considered incentive plan.
A new state law requires contributions by the employees and employer to maintain adequate funding of the pension systems. I think this is a good, common-sense law requiring the pension systems to be adequately funded. The timing kinda sux though, If this law had been in place a decade ago, a lot of financial pain could of been avoided to all the parties involved. My fear is that the local governments will push to repeal the new law. Something that we all need to keep an eye on in the future.
Mates, you don't get something for nothing unless you are the DeKalb CEO or BOC. The rest of us have to pay for it. Same with the pension, the old pension system most of us are in is a pretty good one. It requires adequate funding to remain viable. DeKalb employees have stepped up and doubled their contributions. I do have serious doubts as to the BOC's commitment to their side of the contributions.
Some of y'all want me to run for the pension board as retiree rep. I am dead set against it for reasons I have previously explained.
I will continue to serve you behind the scenes. I have three initiatives in play with DeKalb government to help you guys out. The first was to open communication between the pension board and the employees and retirees. My recommendation was a web site dedicated to the Pension System and the pension board has allocated 25 grand to build it.
My second initiative is politically sensitive and I am keeping quiet about it. I have had some success and expect to have something report in several weeks.
My third initiative is to reestablish communication between the CEO, BOC and the employees. This is a work-in-progress but I am optimistic of success. I regard this is as absolutely imperative and will not give-up on this initiative until either successful or dead, which ever comes first.
The very best of luck, mates!

Anonymous said...

From a related AJC article: "DeKalb County’s plan was fully funded 13 years ago, so officials declared a “contribution holiday” and for several years paid little into the fund. By 2009, DeKalb was running the highest deficit of any of the metro counties, despite boosting contributions years before".

It is my belief that the DeKalb pension plan is a good plan. The problem, as with much in DeKalb, is the politicians who have screwed it up; and to some degree the ignorant voters who put them in place and then whined every time the need to raise taxes came around. Many of us thought it was a bad move all those years ago when DeKalb declared their "contribution holiday". We knew that one day, there would be a price to pay. That time has now come. But, do not let Elaine Bowyer fool you! She is a huge reason that "holiday" was declared. She and her cohorts (I believe they were dubbed the four housewives) on the board held taxes down far longer that they should have. Then, when DeKalb hit bottom, she and the others began digging the hole deeper. Instead of moderate, reasonable tax increases along the way and continued contributions to the pension, they refused to vote yes to the increases and now their bad decisions have come to haunt them, the taxpayers and every employee of the county.
Voters and citizens should remember this the next time she is up for election and work diligently to have her replaced!!!!
DeKalb County needs politicians with common sense and foresight; and most of all, backbones....

MJ Fannon said...

FYI..Speaking of pensions.. I just got my 3rd.. yes 3rd .. 10-99R from the county. The 1st one came at the correct time. The next arrived a few weeks later with a note saying that a MISTAKE had been made. Indeed because mine was attached to Steve Foster's note which I seperated and mailed to him. Like most good Americans we (my wife and I) filed our tax return with the help of an accountant. A month goes by we get a refund check and place it in the bank. On the 22nd of March I get another letter from the Finance Dept Risk Management & Employee Services with a nice note explaining that the Taxable Amount in Box 2a and Box 7 maybe incorrect. Maybe incorrect! A phone call to one person explained nothing, then a supervisor (we think) got on and said well if you already had a corrected one sent to you you may be alright. I guess they didn't know about the 2nd or 3rd one. Maybe Alright! Hmm.. The error was put on whoever prints these W-2s 10-99R forms. Makes me feel a whole hell of alot better. I am full of confidence that the county got it right...NOT... Now this is only for folks who took the early out. Here is the county disclaimer, "Our vendor is working as quickly as possible to make the correction. In the meanwhile, Payroll Services is CLOSELY MONITORING our vendors' efforts to issue your corrected 10-99-R. Please expect your corrected 10-99R in the next 5 to 10 business days". I put the caps on closely monitoring for my own effect that is my disclaimer. Now I hope a lot of folks didn't go out and put down cash to buy a house or car on that tax return check. Isn't great to know that even in retirement we will be forever tied to the imcompetent Dekalb County folks. Yes LoFlyer I am guilty of buying into the "ill-considered incentive" plan as you call it and thought I was done after taking the early out. How wrong I was. Oh well stick around and we will see if or how this may hurt the retirees. MJF Formerly #1143

Anonymous said...

Keep these idiots away from our pension and we want and need the $43 million back !!!! All the previous comments that I have read about the pension board and it's members need to be followed up who, I don't know but if we continue a blind eye and blind trust in these people we will be very sorry. It was ANOTHER stupid move to waive pension contributions for years. Who the hell was supposed to keep up with the checks and balances on this decision? The BOC, the pension board and our so called pension reps.? Did they? I don't think so but you decide for yourselves.What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Damn.... the pension is the only reason I didn't mail off my app to Dunwoody.... once I'm vested, I will be taking a hard look at my options.

So why should we stay with Dekalb ?

Anonymous said...

NEVER trust politicians with anything and I have my doubts about the pension board too.

Anonymous said...

The stock market has been doing great for more than two years since the financial fiasco. Where do they have our pension invested? It's time We take charge of OUR situation and not leave it up to bureaucrats that we are supposed to trust with our future.Isn't the pension board supposed to keep up with the strength of the pension. Wouldn't you think that they are supposed to challange politicians who MAY wish to do our pension harm? WTF ?

Anonymous said...

Why can the AJC get the info on our pension balance sheet but we the employees haven't seen a pension statement since Q4 2009?

Anonymous said...

I read the article and have a few simple math questions.

It is my understanding that the pension has 1 billion in assests at the moment.

Assuming a 4% annual return that would equal 40 million for the year.

The county puts in 47.7mil and employees 23.5mil which equals 71.3million. Per the AJC article the payout to retirees per year appears to be 78million.

40 million + 71.3 million = 111.3 million coming in.

There is only 78 million going out.

We have 1 billion in the bank and it's not being touched. If memory serves me correctly we had the same amount around year 1999-2000.

I used a very conservative return of 4% return which gives the pension a net return of over 30million every year. Can someone please explain to me why our pension is in so much trouble?

I know I simplified the math but for me something just isn't adding up.

Again, WHY HAVEN'T WE, THE EMPLOYEES, SEEN A PENSION STATEMENT?? Someone please track one down and post it for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Micheal Bell, former Financial Officer for DeKalb for 15 years, holds some responsiblity to this fiasco. But hey now he is teaching a course on finance at Ga State...I can only imagine the trickle down effect to that roll.

I can see the pension cuts/increases coming to this employee who took the early retirement package. The article truly has me worried about my future and that of my child. Yes not working for a year was truly nice but I see it is time to go find another source of income.

Anonymous said...

To the two Anons at 5:01 and 10:07

Folks keep saying "Keep these idiots away from our Pension Fund"... But I believe that the truth is that the BOC controls the contributions by their vote... The Pension Board can not dictate to the BOC that any amount should be contributed. They can recommend, but they have no power or authority to decide. Only the BOC can determine funding and require a specific contribution amount from the employee. I think your real beef is with the BOC not the Pension Board....

Anonymous said...

"Why can the AJC get the info on our pension balance sheet but we the employees haven't seen a pension statement since Q4 2009?"

If this is true it is because of the people that YOU elected to be your pension representatives and a board who treats you like mushrooms. What are you going to do about it?

Anonymous said...

You want to see the pension balance sheet? You don't need no stinkin pension balance sheet, you friggin mushrooms.You recently elected a Democrat politician to sit on the pension board instead of a guy in the PD who has a lot of investment experience, to add to checks on the pension board. You moroons get what you deserve. Period.

Anonymous said...

To the Blogmaster:

I wanted to make sure that you knew of the following AJC Article where 4 people were indicted for pension fraud.

Anonymous said...

We need a watchdog on our pension. The current dumb S**t's ain't gettin it.