March 13, 2008

City retirees likely to get more pension money soon

City councilors are poised to offer a hefty cost-of-living hike to retired municipal workers.
Though the city has no obligation to raise pensions, the City Council this week unanimously agreed to adopt a one-time increase this year.
Councilors did not say how much the hike might be or how much more it will cost.
To push through the cost-of-living adjustment, which was first talked about last fall, the council had to adopt an ordinance allowing the move. Councilors did that this week.
It appears the council will soon give a green light to the pension hike that they considered in December, which would provide some retired workers as much as $4,200 more each year.
There are nearly 400 retired workers covered by the general city retirement plan, which is the one the council is eyeing to tap to pay for higher pensions.
Because the trust fund that covers the retirees’ pensions has a whopping excess of money, experts have said the inflation adjustments won’t crimp taxpayers and won’t jeopardize the city’s ability to make pension payments in the future.
It would, however, make it a little harder to snatch tens of millions out of the pension account to fill a new health benefits fund that someday will cover the health care costs of future city retirees. That fund needs more than $75 million.
The general retirement fund has more than $500 million, which is far more than actuarial professionals estimate it will need. The fund has grown so large since its inception in 1978 that taxpayers no longer have to make any annual payments to keep it up.
There are more than 30 city retirees who receive pensions of more than $50,000 annually and at least one who collects twice that.
The cost-of-living adjustments are likely to cover the last five years or so, with more recent retirees getting less than the full amount.
The proposal that councilors considered adopting a few months ago would add 75 percent of the annual cost-of-living increase to pension funds for each year back to 2002, the first time any pension hikes were given.That means that workers who were retired in 2002 could get up to 16 percent more each month if the council endorses the idea. More recent retirees would get less.City Treasurer Bill Veits said that workers who retired in 2005, for example, will get 5.58 percent more, or two years’ worth of cost-of-living adjustments.About two dozen retirees would get the $350 maximum monthly increase while five would get the minimum of an additional $10 a month.
The city offered a cost-of-living hike to its retirees once before, in 2002, without going through the trouble of authorizing the move with a specific ordinance.
One member of the council, Democrat Frank Nicastro, abstained on the issue. He receives a city pension for his 10-year stint as mayor and 17 years as a truant officer.

*******
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with that picture..the masses suffer for a few..dam Patty Ewen and the unions...feathering their own bed with taxpayer money...AGAIN...and they di it behind closed doors. They have names for people like that.

Anonymous said...

Is this how the union intends to use up the surplus in there pension plans? Based on these numbers it will cost $1,680,000 THIS year based on 400 retirees. That is over 1/2 mill under this years budget. The unions getting our dollars again!

Steve Collins said...

No, it won't cost that much. You're making the assumption that nearly 400 retirees will all get the maximum, when some are actually getting just $10 a month extra. I'm not sure of the total tab, but it's sharply lower than your guess.
Plus, of course, the money is coming out of an overfunded pension plan. Taxpayers shouldn't have to make up the difference, ever.
But it's still something that the city is choosing to do for its retired workers, not something that's been negotiated.

Steve Collins said...

By the way, this was not done behind closed doors. I've written about it at least three times previously and there was a public hearing on the proposed law last month. It doesn't get much more open than that.

Anonymous said...

I say only if the union "allows" the city to transfer the pension money to the medical opligation

Anonymous said...

At a time when most familys in Bristol and around the State are dealing with high energy costs, increasing food costs and higher taxes, this is a slap in the face...no matter how "open" it it was claimed to be. I agree with the 3:32 poster...only after the City's liability caused by the unions has bee resolved should anyone get a penny.

Anonymous said...

steve why would anyone want to deal in the truth ? It more fun to distort the facts .

Anonymous said...

Steve save your breath they only are the same two hate mongers hanging around here. Let them make up their stories because they either like to lie like crazy or they are just plain trouble makers and they make up their own stories all the time. You'd think after all the losses they had that they would know thier credability is zilch !

Anonymous said...

Didn't take Mayor Ward long, did it?

One has to reward ones supporters, doesn't one?

And we pay, and pay, and pay.

Anonymous said...

ART had nothing to do with this action THANK YOU PATTY EWEN

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Art have a vote?

Anonymous said...

the mayor has already been forced to vote on the record twice in his administration - once for Jonathan Rosenthal and once against the Scalia school site. Please don't try to force him to vote on the record again so soon after these two other votes - it might do something to his system.

Anonymous said...

Lets see if Arty, McCauley and Nicastro excuse themselves.

McCauley will say it doesn't affect him because he's working. In reality it will affect him when he retires because his monthly check will be bigger!

Ward will say it doesn't affect him because his wife is working. I reality it will also affect him because his wife will get a bigger check at retirement!

Nicastro will most likely do the right thing and not vote! Good for you Nicastro.

Maybe Cockayne should ask the Ethics board for a ruling! He's the only one worried about Ethics!!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the Union feels obligated to this increase. Even though they never negotiated this raise? However, they are screaming the pension money can't be moved into the Health Pension because is must be negotiated!

If your going to use the argument about things being negotiated, then EVERYTHING must be negotiated! Not just the stuff you union leaders want!!

GREETY, GREETY, GREETY!!

Anonymous said...

950 poster you need to do your homework this package dose not impact current employees nor will it impact them when they retire

Anonymous said...

What's Greety ? Cry babies can't even spell.

Anonymous said...

Use your own money greedier than thou.

Odin said...

"Maybe Cockayne should ask the Ethics board for a ruling! He's the only one worried about Ethics!!"

No, he's the only one worried about how he looks, rather than how he votes.

Anonymous said...

unions should be banished in the united states......

they had their place in the 1800's, but do nothing in the 20th century except make americas' products too expensive.....

unions are of no use in this day and age........

-billy from bristol

Anonymous said...

I hope that Cockayne reads these posts, especially the one that points out that this action would affect only those that currently ARE RETIRED.
In this case, only Nicastro is affected, of the people that Cockayne mentioned.

Maybe Collins will eventually point this out in one of his articles.

Anonymous said...

Don't mix the COLA issue with the GASB 45 issue. They are two different issues.

Maybe only Nicastro gets affected by the COLA, but all three get affected by the GASB 45, especially since the unions want negotiations opened up on any money tranfer. Technically there should be no issue at all b/c the city can make the transfer w/out even consulting the unions. Negotations would not be simply to improve the benefits for the retired alone.

As far as ethics goes though, Ward should recuse himself anyway after getting caught taking illegal contributions from the unions directly! What a joke that was. Blame it on the Republicans for tatling instead of him taking responsibility.

Anonymous said...

6:57

I, among many, am not blaming the Republicans for tattling on Art W,
I an strongly criticizing Art M for not bringing it out when it could have made a difference in the election.
That was Art Ms job, and he failed the party AND the people, miserably.

Odin said...

a strong military defense should be banished in the united states......

armies had their place in the 1800's, but do nothing in the 20th century except make americas' neighbors hate us.....

they are of no use in this day and age........

-odin from asgard

Anonymous said...

What ever happens we should disban this union. They only make it hard to get rid of bad employes and are costing the city a lot of money. Just go watch a group work on the streets. What a joke or what a crime. I think its stealing.

Anonymous said...

Boo Hoo again !!

Anonymous said...

odin from asgard:

How is it in your dream world? Have another hit.

Anonymous said...

Anybody know how to get rid of these bad people that can't use their own money ???

Odin said...

There's sarcasm in my world. Not in yours, apparently.

Anonymous said...

Thas all you have in your little hidden world !!

Anonymous said...

The City has serious problems and the tax payers cant take much more. At what point do our leaders stop giving there own more and take care of us. This spending is insane.

Anonymous said...

3/14 9:14 Poster;

There are several reasons why Mocmbee handled Wards screw up properly.

It would have been labeled sour grapes. Without any proof of the charges..voters would have called the charges "politically motivated".

Now that Ward has been proven to have disregarded the law, the matter should be an issue that will dog him throughtout the rest of his term. It will be up to the new chairman to foillow up. Would that issue been enough to change 181 votes?...maybe...but not likly

Anonymous said...

You guys and your lousy politics. And you faceless wonders are perfect right ? Never mind you'll never tell who you are because you don't want to be open to critisizem.

Anonymous said...

The proof was in the filings: they were available from the primary and could have been used.
Even raising the question with the information available would have been effective.

While we will never know if it would have swung enough votes, it certainly would have been a step in the right direction/

Food for thought: is there any connection with some of the republican appoints as submitted by Mocabee and the fact that Mocabee DID NOT go after Ward at all?

Anonymous said...

8:41am - hey peabrain, like or dislike ward, the fact remains that his oqn treasurer admitted that it wasn't ward's fault - it was the treasurer's responsibility stupid. rather than looking to spend the next 18 months foaming at the mouth for the next election, why don't you surprise everyone and do something constructive like contribute something positive to your world rather than your continuing slobbering - euthanization might be a viable alternative, works for other animals.

Anonymous said...

Harry Truman, a class act, said" The Buck stops here".

Maybe BOTH Arts should give that some thought!

Anonymous said...

Odin: I understand the sarcasm in your comment. However comparing national defense and unions is wrong-headed. The US wouldn't have been created without an army and it would not be sustainable without one. The same can not be said about the US and unions. Your pro-union sarcastic comment was silly. Does that register in your world?

Anonymous said...

Retirees deserve a COLA but an annual one that is budgeted not the amount they are getting in this package.

The average worker should be so lucky.

Looks like Nicastro and Leone are reaping the benefits..........

Odin said...

Sigh. I guess I need to spell it out for you. Just like a strong, well-equipped army is the only deterrent to foreign aggression, the existence (fear) of unions is the only reason non-union employers give their employees decent benefits. You think it's out of the goodness of their heart? Come one, they're in business to make money and give NOTHING away. So don't get all self-righteous about your non-union life. You're just like the draft-dodgers who owe their freedom to the soldiers who serve. You want us on that wall; you NEED us on that wall.

Anonymous said...

Don't you know that Leone and Nicastro are pulling Wards chain.

What a trio: two former mayors who "never left office" and one wannabee.

Anonymous said...

Is this idiot actually equating unions with our nations military ???

Anonymous said...

He was making an analogy. Go back to sleep.

Anonymous said...

A more accurate analogy might be Unions and Loss of Americas' manufacturing sector or Unions and distruction of faith in Government .

Anonymous said...

odin you one smart man let us not leave out who the real vilians are CORPORATE GREED

Anonymous said...

" Union Phobia" from the same cry babies !!

Anonymous said...

Councilman Cockaine: thanks for opening the door for us to improve our benefits package.
Hopefully you will get Mayor Ward to go along.

Anonymous said...

What is next Kenny?

Who will you be listening to this time?

You do need to make some headlines before we forget who you are.

How about eliminating the COO?