Friday, May 25, 2012

Important Notice About DKPD Retirement

Back in January 2012, we warned of possible major changes to our pension and to the pension board. Now the F.O.P. has the same concerns.

Here is an email the F.O.P. is sending out. We took the liberty to post it.
This is some truly frightening stuff!
"Until recently, the Executive Board and members of the DeKalb FOP were never concerned about the health of our pension. We were told numerous times that it is one of the best in the State of Georgia, if not the nation. We still feel that way, but there are concerns.

Lately we have heard numerous rumors and innuendo about our pension. So we conducted some research. We started with the minutes of the Pension Board meetings posted at dekalbpension.com. Here are some of the more interesting notes that we read:
•"Total value at end of last quarter was $974 million." (Dec 15, 2011 Minutes) That value is down from $1.21 billion. (Sept. 1, 2011 Minutes)
•"Unfunded liability is $608 million." (Dec 15, 2011 Minutes)
•No value for the Pension Fund was given in the latest minutes, which was Feb 16, 2012.
•"40% of the portfolio was not doing well." (Feb 16, 2012 Minutes)
•"Plan was overfunded for many years and had a surplus." (Dec 15, 2011 Minutes)
•"Plan is in no financial duress." (Dec 15, 2011 Minutes)
•"Last 5 years, the pension fund ranked above median relative to other public funds." (Dec 15, 2011 Minutes)
•"Last year ranked in 87th percentile." (Dec 15, 2011 Minutes)
•For the Early Retirement plan of 2010, the County borrowed $12,549,128 to be amortized over 30 years. The annual payment is $1,115,482. (July 14, 2011 Minutes)
•841 positions were vacated by the Early Retirement plan, but the County refilled 600 of those positions. (July 14, 2011 Minutes)

There were several other items that were noticed from reading the minutes, but we should explain the makeup of the Pension Board. There are 7 people on the Pension Board. Five are voting members, and 2 are non-voting members. The voting members are:
Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County
Two Members elected by the Board of Commissioners
Two members elected to a 4-year-term by the active participants of the Plan
One member elected to a 4-year-term by the retired participants of the Plan
One member that is appointed by the above six members

The non-voting members are:
Director of Finance of DeKalb County
Director of Human Resources & Merit System of DeKalb County

In the September 1, 2011 minutes we noticed a power play that has caused some concern, especially when taken into account some of the other statements that have been made at several meetings. According to the Sept 1, 2011 Minutes, Benita Ransom (Human Resource Director) wanted to know why she and the Finance Director were not voting members of the Board. Since she and the Finance Director are appointed by the CEO (Burrell Ellis) that would give him unprecedented power. The CEO and the BOC have 3 of the 7 votes absolutely loyal to the CEO and BOC. Three of the 7 votes answer to the participants of the Pension Plan. The 7th vote is the swing vote, and that person is appointed by the other six members, so who knows where their loyalty lies. If you add CEO appointees such as the Human Resource Director and the Finance Director as voting members, then the CEO and BOC have 5 of 9 votes loyal to them. This is an unacceptable situation for the participants of the pension fund.

In the March 31, 2011 minutes, it shows that Dr. Jabari Simama, Chief of Staff for CEO Burrell Ellis, wanted to know if he could vote in the CEO's absence. He was told that it had been determined in the past that no one can vote in the CEO's place. At least CEO Ellis has to actually be present to vote! Another power play thwarted.

There are several statements that are also a concern. In the May 5, 2011 minutes, it states that "Ed Wall stated that he believed that the Board of Commissioners is looking for a way to save money, and not have to contribute the $48 million this year to the Pension Fund." In the December 15, 2011 minutes, it states "Ed Wall stated that the plan's current assets combined with the employee and County contribution, the plan would not run out of money, unless the employees and the County failed to meet their required contributions." In the July 14, 2011 minutes there is talk of proposed changes to the pension plan. The biggest change proposed would be to take employees hired after Jan 1, 2012 and make them ineligible to participate in the defined benefit plan and have them in a defined contribution plan. That means they would not be contributing to our pension fund, but to their own individual pension fund. That would be a serious blow to the health of our pension fund! The December 15, 2011 minutes also states "For fiscal year 2012, the County will contribute $39 million; for fiscal year 2013 it will contribute $41 million." The AJC recently had an article saying that if the City of Brookhaven is approved, then the County will lose 15.1 million to 28.5 million dollars in tax revenue. We believe this gives the CEO and BOC incentive not to fund our pension fund. Combine that with the attempts to have controlling power on the Pension Board, and we have a situation where anytime the BOC wants some money due to the financial straits of the County, they can "raid" our pension fund. They will simply have the Pension Board vote to "loan" the County money whenever they are short of money. They have already been loaned money from the Pension Fund in the past. CEO Manuel Maloof used the funds for sidewalks and libraries. CEO Ellis used the funds for the Early Retirement Program. It would be unacceptable for the Pension Fund to turn into a "slush fund" for the CEO and BOC to use whenever they feel they need some money.

We also want to state that Robert Robertson has done a great job standing up for the retirees. While he is outnumbered on the Pension Board, he is a voice that speaks up and speaks often. He spoke out against the attempted power grab by the Human resources Director Benita Ransom (Sept 1, 2011 Minutes). In the July 14, 2011 meeting, he let it be known that "he was sick of the County commissioners' balancing the budget off the backs of the employees." We appreciate a person that speaks the truth when it needs to be spoken.

So what are we going to do about all this? Well, we could each be a small voice at the Pension Board Meetings, or we could unite so we will be a loud and united voice. To accomplish that, here is what we propose. If you are already a member of DeKalb FOP Lodge #10, that is great. We recommend that you get active in the Lodge. Attend the monthly meetings at the Lodge in Stone Mountain the second Tuesday of every month. Voice your concerns and let's unite for a louder voice at the Pension Board. If you are not a member of the FOP, it is possible for a retiree to join. For $65, you can join and get all of the benefits from the local lodge except for the life insurance. You will also have full benefits from the State Lodge and National Lodge.
We also need to recruit more active officers to the FOP. This is their pension fund too!

We will propose that the FOP have a Pension Watch Committee. We would like about 10 people on this committee, especially retirees. They would attend the Pension Board meetings and make comments to the Board if warranted. They will also report back to the FOP Lodge what happened at the Pension Board meetings. We think the Pension Board needs to be monitored and the full voice of the DeKalb FOP Lodge #10 heard at the meetings.

For FOP members and non-members, we invite you to the Open House "Chillin' and Grillin' at the FOP Lodge on Saturday, June 16th, 11am to 7pm. We would like to see you there! Feel free to talk about this and any other issues you have with the members of the Executive Board. Come on out and have a good time!


Sincerely Yours,

The Executive Board, DeKalb FOP Lodge #10"

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good plan.

Anonymous said...

KEEP THESE IDIOTS AWAY FROM OUR PENSION !

Anonymous said...

The IDIOTS I speak of are the politicians and bureaucrats. I agree we need a PENSION WATCH DOG befoer the afroementioned imbeciles ruin the pension. They need to keep their greasy fingers out of the pension and be made to contribute as per existing laws. Also, I think we do not get returns on the pension for the many fees that the pension pays to our many pension advisors.

Anonymous said...

Has the FOP ever heard of the words...."LAWSUIT" ? This word does have cloudt and in a lot of cases, it does work. The trouble is finding the right lawyer(s) to do the job.

Pussyfooting around isn't going to get the pensioneers more money if they are going to stand still and bitch. The contributing members of the pension MUST need to get off their lazy asses and do something.

I realize that "talk" is very cheap, but even cheap talk does work. It has worked in Fulton County many times over, and now Fulton County realizes that certain groups who either have retired from the county or are still sctively employed, will not stand for the bullshit that Fulton County has dished out. Fulton County Government's last lawsuit wasn't a cheap endeavor, but very costly. It took much time, and in the end result was very benefical to those concerned.

So quit the bitching, get off your lazy butts and do something constructive for a change.....Sue those bastards as a group and personally (the CEO and his flunkies)

Anonymous said...

"Loaning" money out of the pension fund to the county when they fall short. Hmmm...sounds a lot like how the federal government uses social security. We all know the financially disastrous condition social security is in. Social security is the biggest ponzi scheme going. I'm paying into it, but I'll never collect. The laws of mathematics proves it and the results of the laws of mathematics, in the end, cannot be spun by any snake in the grass politician. Politicians always try to find a way to spend and take money that is not theirs. We need to keep these people away from OUR money at all costs. Everything else they have touched has turned to shit.

-Anon 1118

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight....I am thinking about becoming a police officer in dekalb.

If I were to work for dekalb county long enough, and get old and retire, I will start geting a pension check every month?

Does that happen when I turn 65?

If I am a retired cop, every month will I get the same check till the day I die? or will it go up every now and then? The cost of everything has gone up so will the check go up as the cost of living goes up?

This is like social security check for eldery folks except folks who worked for the county get a retirement check every month and a SS check as well....right?

Can these politicians take the money for themselves and not pay me when I am old and retired? What if I have bills to pay, even when I am retired?

I am young, and I guess ignorant of how these things work, but I want to make the right choices in a career field. Obviously the officers on here have been working for dekalb a long time and I just want your advice and information about how it works.

A Student at UGA

Anonymous said...

Do we get a good return for all the fees we pay to our many "advisors" , Just asking.

Anonymous said...

Loan pension money to the county? You gotta be kidding. Talk about a bad risk.Government incompetence is what got us into this financial mess in the first place...federal and local. Politicians are a bunch of self serving incompetent IDIOTS !
Keep them away from our pension.

Anonymous said...

OMG! A 234 Million dollar loss in the past six months? I would assume that the pension investments are in a diversified and conservative portfolio and the benchmark Dow Jones Ind. Avg shows (11,000 in Sept 2011 and 11,800 in Dec 2011) that is a 7% increase in the same period. Did they invest 20% of the portfolio in Greece Government Bonds? Not only does this incompetence frighten me, but the 608 million in unfunded liability? For those who don't know that means that in order to pay the retires from the fund, the entire 974 million that is there now has to all be paid out and there will still be a shortage of 608 million of course that is spread out over future years so its all not due now, but regardless that is way way too high. The unfunded liability is a way to present debt to confuse people. We would be much more upset if they really said, We have 974 million and we owe almost twice that 1,582,000,000. This is truly concerning because the only two reasons I am here is because of the pension and 4 day work week. The moral, working conditions, incompetent supervisors, promotional favoritism, politics, equipment, internal and external liability and pay certainly don't help.

Anonymous said...

I suggest every employee in this pension pull their money out IMMEDIATELY and reinvest it with someone that isn't allocating your funds to the broker that provides them the largest kickback. There is NO future here for you or your family so be responsible and get to a place that takes its employees and their livelihood seriously.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the Channel 2 News Monday at 6pm stating that Dekalb County is looking at lowering all employee wages by 6.2% to help offset the budget debt.It keeps getting worse! No raises for 8 years and then this?

Anonymous said...

We pay $$$$$$$$$$ a lot of fee's to these financial advisors and brokers. Do we get a decent return for all the $$$$$$$$$$ we shell out to these guy's. It's about time the pension board let us in on the details. Don't you think so too? $$$$$$$$$$$$$ This pension is important to us and we don't want it ruined by politicians $$$$$$$.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think that they will lower the salaries of BOC staff and commissioners and people like judges?...or just the grunts.

Anonymous said...

To the Student at UGA considering Dekalb: RUN! Don't walk, RUN AWAY QUICKLY!! What was once a proud, revered and respectable police department has been corrupted and ruined. Don't risk your life for a department (or its citizens) that couldn't care less about you.
Sad, but unfortunately, so true.

Anonymous said...

UGA Student.....the pension for new hires sucks!!!!!Back in 2006 or 2007 the county changed it. Then current employees were vested and under the old pension. New hires from 06 (help me here) onward went under the new pension.......

At one time it was a kick ass pension. 10 years and u were vested at 2. 75 % per year of the last 3 years of your salary. They can collect at 50. I for one .....am in line.

New hires.....its do 30 years at 60% of your top out. That sucks. You join at 25,,,,,retire at 60% at 55. At 55 your old to be chasing perps.

Plus if your white.....you'll be discriminated against because of your race. Its a black dept now. They don't like white people.

Promotion evals are conducted by Auburn University......a liberal white affirmative action puppet. As a whitey......goodluck. Look at Don Frank..........oh yes. I sat there as Don Frank walked into the church in Decatur and vowed,,,,,,"aint nothing but a thing". Made Lt, Capt, Major, asst chief....
And 2 years later,,,,,,,,Sonya Porter walked in and prospective black lts/ then sgts said...theres lt porter!!!!!!

And the biggest joke.........VC Logan. MPO, Sgt Lt, and now Capt. Why??? Because she's a black female.

Does wonders for morale.

Nothing like having a UGA Degree in CJ and watching Quintavius (a hs grad and 5 academies after u) get promoted to sgt, then lt, then capt as u answer calls in shit hole south or tucker precinct. Does a lot for your morale.!!!!!!!

Am i bitter? Hell yea!!!!!!!! Work somewhere 18 years and get treated like trash and well see how you feel. Look elsewhere!!!!!!

Don't even consider DC. It sucks!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The good days of DKPD left when Dick Hand and Bob Ghul(sp) left.

Veteran officer under the old plan with too much time to leave. said...

UGA grad... if you're young and looking to get into law enforcement, two or three years at Dekalb should be viewed as an investment in YOURSELF.

If you decide to come to Dekalb, do it to learn and jump. Use DKPD for what your can get out of it. A tremendous amount of experience in a very short period of time. Once you have that experience, jump to the Feds or another local agency like Dunwoody, Johns Creek or Alpharetta... or head down to Florida.

If you're goal is to go overseas with a private company... join the marines or come to Dekalb and (when you have enough time on the job) put in for SWAT or the bomb unit.

Dekalb is great for learning not for spending a career.

Anonymous said...

The county got a deal with us on the payroll. They got a lot more work from us than they paid in salary. Personally, being an old guy, I left the place with God knows how many hours of uncompensated overtime. The pension I receive makes up for it and I and all the guy's I worked with deserve every penny of it.

Anonymous said...

Uncompensated overtime,stress, health issues, divorce,good ole boy system, affirmative action, out right stupid supervisors and command staff making wacky decisions and causing undo stress on officers, more health issues from stress and lack of sleep and dealing with the crooks was the best part of it. Yea, I deserve the pension too.Keep the idiotic BOC away from the pension.

Anonymous said...

Those interested in the pension and the pension board....read this link.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/47756151

Anonymous said...

So, FOP what is the bottom line on this thread are you going to be the rep that we really need on the pension board?

Anonymous said...

The way to change things is a police oranz. thats not afraid to do what it takes to take on the political bosses as well as those so call chain of command butt holes.these oranz are not the fop or pba.It starts with you...

Anonymous said...

@ 2:45, you embarrass us all.