About the pension

Forget the numbers. Just a few more days to get educated on this pension thing.

It’s not as complicated as it seems. Very simply, there are two issues here.

Issue one is an underfunded pension. Employees getting the city’s pension benefit won’t see that change at all. Which means that taxpayers will foot the bill that’s expected to be more than $30 million in 10 years. The referendum won’t impact that.

Issue two is the pension vote. The new plan shields taxpayers from the effects of the stock markets where the pension fund is invested. It’s not a pure 401k, but it places more risk on the employees, among other cost savings such as a longer vesting period. If it were used this year instead of the current pension, it would have saved the city about $2.2 million.

Most everyone in the city, employees and elected folks back the plan.

Some council members wanted the pension to more closely resemble a 401k, but that was negotiated out earlier this year. If that had gone through, you could expect to hear strong opposition from employee groups. But such isn’t the case.

From Mark Taylor, head of the local FOP chapter:

We’re good with what Mayor Rogero has put forward … there isn’t anything that we feel was any sort of deal breaker. We feel that we came up with a plan that reduced the city’s risk … it’s a good benefit for employees that serve the taxpayers and the public.


Michael Paseur, head of the city employees association:

As a group, I think we’re all pretty well satisfied that every effort was made for a potential new hire … I’m also on the pension board, I know from both angles that a lot of effort was put into Plan H, and not having the total burden being borne on the taxpayer.

Plan H is the inside baseball term for “new pension plan,” or “proposed pension plan.”

And if you want to see where it is on the ballot, go here.


About Gerald

A journalist in Knoxville, TN. Work (mostly) inside and play (mostly) outside. I'm a part of the X or the Y generation. None of us claim the other.
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