Defined benefit plan for county employees is bad news for public

Tue, 07/08/2008 - 3:50pm
By: Letters to the ...

My political views are conservative. My political philosophy is simply stated: The American work ethic.

I was raised being encouraged by my parents and extended family to “Be the Best You Can Be.” I was encouraged to follow my dreams and to work hard for them.

For those of you who are facing hard times, I have been there. Keep your positive attitude, put your feet to your prayers, don’t ever quit, and your dream is just around the corner.

I have a deep compassion for people when they fear for their personal well-being for themselves and their families.

Defined Benefit Retirement Plan

I am against a defined benefit retirement plan for the Fayette County employees. My answer is one that has been learned from experience. My wife and I lost most of our defined benefit retirement plans from Eastern Airlines.

She will also experience a major reduction in her future retirement benefits due to a suspension of a defined benefit retirement plan at her current place of employment. I am now facing the possible loss of my defined benefit retirement plan at the former Airborne Express, now ABX Air in Wilmington, Ohio, due to the situation with ABX Air, DHL and UPS.

An employee does not own his or her defined benefit retirement plan; it is subject to the courts. Defined benefit retirement plans are an ongoing burden for administering the program, i.e., private business or governmental bodies.

Our county government would be responsible for the program indefinitely, which could result in a great financial burden to the county taxpayers in the future.

On the other hand, an employee owns his or her defined contribution retirement plan and they are the masters of their own financial future.

Investments within a defined contribution retirement plan are the responsibility of the employee, which allows them to have control of their future retirement income. An employee can take his or her defined contribution retirement plan with them if they choose to change to another employer. Defined contribution retirement plans are the way of the future.

Pay Raises for Fayette County Employees

Are our county employees exempt from the current economic downturn to have received their pay raises just approved in our county budget? No, they are not exempt. However, employees of the county need to be paid a fair market wage for their service to our community. Also, they need to be able to contribute to their defined contribution retirement programs.

This is the responsibility of the county commissioners and I am willing to make the decisions to assure that Fayette County employees are justly compensated for their service to our county.

I attended the County Commission meeting last Thursday, June 26, and listened to Chairman Jack Smith’s explanation for the county employee raises. I can support this reasoning. The Fayette County budget passed during this meeting. I am not in disagreement with this action by our commissioners.

Fayette County Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Plan

Fayette County has a land use plan and this provides for conservative growth for our county through approximately 2030 with periodic evaluations. The land use plan is part of the Fayette County comprehensive plan and can be accessed at

I would consider a request for changing the rezoning of a property from AR zoning (five acre minimum) very carefully. This would be considered with the best interest of all Fayette County citizens in mind. I will evaluate each request with consideration of the requirements of the Fayette County land use plan, which has planned growth in its structure.

The structure of the land use plan considers the infrastructure of our county, i.e., county roads, water system, etc. We cannot over-stress this infrastructure, which is why we have a land use plan. This is my governing philosophy. I will vote upon these requests with this as my guidance always considering what is in the best interest for Fayette County and our citizens.

As I campaign throughout our county, meeting our citizens, this issue comes up quite often. If elected, as a Fayette County commissioner, maintaining the quality of life in our county will be a top priority of my elected office.

General Overview

1. Public Safety

2. Managing the growth in Fayette County to maintain our quality of life.

3. Keeping our property taxes from escalating out of control.

Public safety is a major concern of mine and should be on the top of every citizen’s agenda. We only need to look at Liberty Baptist Church as our most recent foray with the criminal elements of our society. I will support our law enforcement giving our sheriff’s and marshals’ departments the tools and the support they need to modernize their effort to stop this outright and blatantly disrespectful behavior from these lawless individuals. I will be available to communicate with our law enforcement officials if I am elected to the Fayette County Board of Commissioners and will convey what I learn to our citizens.

Managing the growth in Fayette County to maintain our quality of life will be adhered to by following the Fayette County comprehensive plan which contains the land use plan. There is growth programmed in these county directives and I will pay very close attention to these plans when considering appropriate zoning requests brought before the Fayette County Commission.

Keeping our property taxes from escalating out of control is a major reason I choose to seek election to the Fayette County Commission. We are in an economic downturn. An effort from all of our citizens will be required to find the best methods to run our county from an economic perspective.

You can read more and have greater detail of my candidacy for Fayette County Commissioner Post 2 at my website,

Bob Fuhrman or

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