Friday, December 21, 2012

A Word From Ed Wall, Pension Board Board Chair

"I apologize to all of you that the minutes aren't posted in a more timely manner. Your Pension Board meets every two months. So the September minutes should be posted now.

The minutes can't be posted until the Board approves them. So we are always two months behind. We approve the minutes of the previous meeting at the current meeting.

At our November meeting, the minutes for the September meeting were not in the in the package mailed out to the Pension Board members. For some reason, the Pension Board staff made a mistake and attached the July minutes. We had already approved those. I made the Pension Board staff aware of it and they brought the September minutes to the November meeting. Board members had not had a chance to read it so we tabled the adoption of the minutes until the next meeting.

So at our January meeting we will adopt September and November minutes and they will be posted.

In hindsight, I reckon I should have paused the meeting and allowed the Board members time to read the minutes and adopted them with changes, if any.

I promise we ain't hiding nothing.

I wish all employees and retirees a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year".
Ed Wall
Pension Board


Anonymous said...

I sure don't trust this.

John G said...

Thanks for answering the question, Ed. As a person that attends the Pension Board meeting for the DeKalb FOP, I was aware of the situation. It is better coming from you. However, you should have explained that it is against the law for you to post on the website the minutes that have not been approved. Once approved by the Pension Board, then the minutes can be posted.
I too wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy New Year. I will be at the Pension Board meeting on Jan 17th.

Anonymous said...

"I reckon"? "we ain't hiding nothing"? WTH?
This is your pension board chair? He trying to be funny?
Sorry for bumping in - i'm a citizen, and was just a little surprised.

Anonymous said...

It is nice to see the explanation though. Have seen it here before, but seems a few always forget.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the response from Mr. Wall but he and the board need to be constantly aware that we expect and need to be kept up to date on our pension. If the FOP was aware of the situation they should have made the members aware or commented on this Blog. The bottom line is that we want to be kept up to date on our pension and it seems like the people we have as employee and retiree reps should tell us of any problems or mistakes in getting this information out to the participants, instead of allowing everyone to get all ticked off all of the time. Everyone is well aware how little confidence we all have in our leaders, nationally and locally and there is no need to fuel the fire. What's wrong with a little communication here ? Thanks again anyway Mr. Wall, for your update.

Anonymous said...

We do not want Bonita or whatever her name is on the pension board or anyone else on the side of the BOC.

Anonymous said...

Open letter to Mr. Walls and the DeKalb CEO/BOC.
Mr. Walls; thanks for your reply.
In the July pension board minutes located at:
The fourth paragraph states ”The total value of the fund as of June 30,2012 was 1.07 billion , which is about 44 million dollars less than the previous quarter of which 30 million dollars is due to investment losses.”
Mr. Walls, the employees are extremely concerned about the funding of the pension plan, and the losses stated in the July minutes raise concern. The July minutes state the fund is only funded to 58 percent, when I left in 2010 I was informed the plan was funded to approximately 68 percent.
Under the present political climate, a five month wait for the pension board minutes is unacceptable to the employees/retiree's.
On a personal note my 457K retirement plan took a loss of 25 percent in 2008-2009 but was fully recovered by 2012 and over the last 6 months done well. While the pension fund has continual outlays of payments to the retirees, this does not explain the lack of financial performance from investments when the employees and retirees are observing good performance from their personal investments over the last several years.
The retirees and employees are concerned over the BOC's reluctance to fund their portion of pension contributions. In the July minutes it is stated the employee/employer contribution is 40/60 percent when only several years ago it was 33.3/66.6 percent.
There is grave concern among the employees and retirees that the BOC will continue to underfund the pension plan and in five years or a decade declare bankruptcy and renegotiate a new pension contract for the retirees and employees.
The elephant in the room is the sub-standard employee wages to the professionals, supervisors and middle management. The only thing holding them is the “old” retirement plan.
I strongly suspect that the DeKalb CEO/BOC's ultimate goal is to legally break their contract with loyal employees/retirees on pension benefits in order to apply the funding to various programs and projects that are politically expedient but unnecessary to the responsibility of providing critical government services to the citizens.
On a personal level I have been reading the pension meeting minutes over the last three years, I have noted your conscientious fiduciary responsibility to the employees/retirees. I am personally grateful for the hard work, long hours of meetings, putting up with the BOC and the criticism from the retirees/employees. You and the employee/retiree reps have a thankless task.

Many thanks!
Best regards,
Ken Choate

Anonymous said...

The past statements are nothing more than doubletalk, excuses, and lies.

If he cannot get to the point without beating the bush, then it is time for a new rep.

Mr. Wall, at its stands, ought to have : BS, MS, PHD as his titles.

Bull Shit, More Shit, Piled High & Deep and that will solve many questions

Anonymous said...

Having utilized Deferred Comp. to facilitate an early retirement I would suggest the following: Freeze every vested employee at their current rate of retirement under the original plan and allow them to start contributing to a 401 or similar SHOULD THEY CHOOSE.
Those frozen under the old 82.5% plan should have allocations for them (around 1 billion dollars) placed into a secure fixed account which would more than support their retirement for the remainder of their lives without risk of value loss, theft, or otherwise illegal manipulation and kickbacks.
Then the BOC could start initiating what scams they wanted with the remaining and new employees investing into the new 401k should they choose to lose by continuing employment in Dekalb. At any rate the vested employees would be safe from the crooked and the crooked can stop worrying about going to Federal prison from the temptation of getting their worthless hands on OUR retirement.
Clearly status quo is not sustainable in this economy so make something happen before you bankrupt us all and have punitive lawsuits you can't afford as individuals because I promise you, retired DKPD are NOT people you want out for retribution with YOU as their target.

Anonymous said...


I do apologize for the 5 month delay in posting pension minutes. It is unacceptable.

The Pension Plan has done well through the last quarter numbers (9/30/12). I think it was up approx 9%. But the last quarter of the year will hurt us as the stock market declined due to the fiscal cliff business in Washington.

The reason the pension fundied percentage keeps going down is that your pension fund funding status is dynamic and involves three main things:

1. The 7,000 employees and the 5,000 retires; their salaries; life expectancies and retirement dates

2. The assets are assumed to grow at 7.75% annually;

3. Contributions from the employees and the County.

In the last decade we had the internet bubble bust in 2001/2002 and the Great Recession in 2008.

Those two events hammered the stock market and have pulled down the average return over the last 10 years.

So if we make a return less than 7.75% the funding status goes down.

The County and employees have always paid in the amount the actuaries set. In no time frame has the County contributed less than the law required.

The County can not declare bankruptcy under Georgia law and Georgia's Constitution. It isn't allowed.

Also under ERISA laws, the County cannot take away a benefit that was previously given. The County may only change benefits for new employees.

Also, under Ga Law if the County ever reached a point where it failed to make it's required annual contribution, it would lose all State of Georgia grants and funds.

Not to mention a lawsuit from your Pension Board who are sworn to take care of your assets and your plan.

I hate the plan is only 58% funded. It is actuarially sound. The assets together with the annual contributions over the next 30 years will fully fund the retirement obligations of the participants. However, if we fail to make an annual return every year of 7.75% or greater, the funding status goes down and the annual required contributions of the employee and the County have to go up.

So here's to 2013 and I hope better than 7.75% returns.

Ed Wall

Anonymous said...

I have read it here and have oftem wondered if we are getting the return on our pension investments that we nee. I wonder if we are getting what we pay for from all of the "investment " companies that we pay or are they just making a living off of us? It seems that something is wrong here with a 30 million dollar loss. I wonder what the stated return is going to be when they finally see fit to post the pension their leisure.

Anonymous said...

I remember these "reps" stating an their applications to run for the pension board that they would keep us informed...well that sure as hell was a typical political campaigne type BS line. Typical Dekalb County leadership trait too.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the follow-up comments reassuring us about the future of the fund. I do feel a little better knowing thses facts.
Having said that, let me say that I am certainly willing to accept your explanation of the delay in posting the minutes from the past meeting, however, I likewise anticipate that this will not become a pattern. An occasional delay is understandable, a pattern is unacceptable and will be viewed as an attempt to cover-up something or circumvent an action against the board/county.
Lastly, as Ken Choate stated earlier, I do appreciate the work you and others do to attend the meetings and communicate your work. Thanks for effort you put forth to ensure the fund remains sound. We look forward to 2013 and better returns!

Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to cut and paste Ed Wall's latest reply to Ken Choate. It's a very good lesson in how government pensions (for the State of Georgia) work. What he did not mention in his - if DeKalb even LOOKS like it can't make its payments to its current will have to go up on its taxes to cover the payments. Look what happened to Atlanta. I continue to receive my pittance (which is greatly appreciated)...I am very confident that I will continue to do so. Thanks again Mr. Wall for explaining this to us. The scary part is that it is only 58% funded - I though by law it had to be 80% - but...whatever. DeKalb residents will have to make up the difference. Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Actually historically if bankruptcy is filed no one is safe. Just look at Delta, current CA municipalities, etc. Given we are talking about Dekalb and the pension continues to be grossly underfunded I'm sure the aforementioned is in the making. Don't blindly follow posts here, research the law and you'll see the pension is not safe.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the update from ED Wall but why don't our elected reps keep us advised, especiously the guy who represents the retirees. He should make some sort of an attempt to keep the retirees advised on all pension status since the retires are are far removed from all communications on everything. It does not seem that COMMUNICATION is his strong suit does it? He could communicate on this blog, and communicate with a few people who are retired, who keep retirees updated on illness and deaths among retirees. It can be done. Seem verry strange that he never does it. Why ?

Anonymous said...

JUST so I'm clear, while I go without safety equipment and drive a police car that's been wrecked 12 times and has 140,000 miles on it school board officials have been pocketing millions from federal grants then pretending to buy school books with it? All Dekalb DOES is harbor felons at this point. WHAT A SHIT HOLE...

Anonymous said...

Now it's being reported on news that Dekalb roads are 10 years behind being paved and serviced based on received federal funding. Guess all of that was pocketed too. Anyone ever find the millions missing from Recorders Court? Anyone looking...? Who would work for, much less DIE for these thieving animals?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wall,

Please show us all where it says in the GA State Constitution that a County cannot declare bankruptcy. I've looked and looked, I don't see it anywhere. I wonder how that could be the case, since the jurisdiction for bankruptcy lies with the federal courts, not the state courts. How can the the state constitution limit the rights of a county in the federal court system? Inquiring minds want to know!

Anonymous said...

You survive daily off your intuition and gut feelings. When you look at the future of DeKalb, what does your gut tell you? There's always winners and losers in life mostly defined by their choices.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ed for setting me straight on the bankruptcy scenario. As a pessimist and not knowing the law, I can only expect the worst from DeKalb government rulers.
Here is a link to GAPPT, Georgia Association of Public Pension Trustees:
Headline on 12/27/2012 is "The Impediments to Terminating a Governmental Pension Plan in Georgia"
The association's headline story offers some insight as to what Ed is saying, and the thoughts of the Georgia association pension trustees.
It is evident that the "old" pension plan is way to expensive for most local governments, the problem that DeKalb government has is that non-political staff employees are at least 10 percent under market salaries, (local government) and expressed the desire to raise the salaries of the lowest paid employees only, a near repeat of the disastrous and flawed '97 salary study.
You get what you pay for, and DeKalb can only attract those willing to work for less, unless you are political staff.
My opinionated opinion.
Be safe out there, boys and girls!
A happy and prosperous new-year to all!

Gold Badge said...


Right you are... my best and brightest officers are interviewing and planning on leaving. Some to local agencies...some to other states entirely.... Tampa, Austin and Dallas just to name a few. Besides good pay and benefits, those three have something else in common....they're in states with NO INCOME TAX.

Yes, the only people I see staying are those who have too much time in to leave, those putting in time to get experience you can't buy and those who we'd like to see leave and go elsewhere.

Dekalb won't figure it out until it is too late.

My advise for new officers....put in your two years, get as much experience as you can.... the jump to an agency that will pay for that experience or jump to the Feds.

The pension... that was a good benefit when you had raises on you could top out at your level... now... a percentage of a small salary is a small pension.

Anonymous said...

Ken, I doubt anyone in the political staff offices are suffering in the same boat that we are. The Democrat elitist's rule. Screw the minions.Hey, is anyone wondering where the lost millions from Recorders Court went? That sure got swept under the rug didnt it. No one seems to care about it do they???

Anonymous said...

Screwed up and haven't approved or posted the meeting minutes for 2 months? The technical term for this is "incompetence"!!! And they wonder why no one expresses any confidence in their management of the pension???

Anonymous said...

two months????...its been a hell of a lot longer that that! Whay elect reps if they treat us like mushrooms?

Anonymous said...

A 25k website ( )

Okay Ed, it's been since December 23, 2012 that you made the statement about our Pension Minutes not being up to date. Lets refresh "I do apologize for the 5 month delay in posting pension minutes. It is unacceptable."

It's been two weeks since this, and there has been no post of Minutes of the meetings. You said there was nothing to hide, etc., but I beg to differ as you and the board were called out on it, you stepped up and took the hit but nothing is different. Whats really going on? Why such secrecy? Are we to the point that in order to have information on our pension, that people will have to attend to take notes for posting on this blog, approved minutes or not? Why are we being kept in the dark? What kind of boiler room deals are being made? I know these are harsh, but as I said, you stepped up to take the hit, offered an apology, and then admitted the boards inaction is unacceptable. Well, I for one believe that your inaction in the last two weeks leave a huge cloud over your apology. "Here's some peanuts kid, go feed the elephants" stall tactic isn't going to work. It's now been half of a year since we've had ANY updates at all. Why? FOP, are you even out there for us?? WTF???

Anonymous said...

The DeKalb Pension Board meets 17 Jan at 9:30am in the Commissioner's Conference room. We will approve the September and November minutes then and they will be posted that afternoon.

Again, I apoligize for the delay.

Ed Wall
Pension Board

Anonymous said...

Ed, Although we realize that everybody screwes up sometimes and the board has some shortcomings, like all of us, most of us appreciate you coming on here and answering questions.Even between the insults you get somethimes, you still have the balls to try to make it public...Thanks