County rejects defined benefit pension plan

Tue, 02/10/2009 - 4:40pm
By: John Munford

The Fayette County Commission voted unanimously last week to reject all bids received for a defined benefits pension plan for county employees.

The move was sought by the county’s retirement committee, which will continue to investigate other retirement plans.

The chairman of that committee, Public Safety Director Allen McCullough, said one of the concerns was the fees that would be charged to manage the plan.

There were also concerns about how much staff time would be required to administer the plan.

“We just want to make sure we have all the facts and figures together before we give you a recommendation,” McCullough said.

McCullough said the committee hopes to have its recommendations ready by March. The committee is investigating multi-employer plan options as well, officials said.

The defined benefit pension plan had drawn criticism from the public in large part because so many other similar plans in the private sector have fallen into trouble due to underpayment. But County Chairman Jack Smith previously said the county’s defined benefits proposal would save the county money by requiring employees to contribute more toward their retirement.

Pensions are generally structured to provide a lifetime monthly payment based on a certain percentage of an employee’s salary at their retirement. That percentage is also based on an employee’s total years of service.

Under Fayette’s proposal, an employee will receive a monthly pension equal to 1.5 percent of their monthly salary multiplied by the number of years worked for the county with a maximum total of 45 percent. There was also no cost of living provision in the pension plan.

The county’s proposal would give no credit for prior years of service but instead employees would earn their service credit starting from the time the plan is implemented.

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