Attend Local Government Academy's "Pensions 101" program on February 2nd for a good start!
As we usher in the new year, a common goal among many newly elected officials, appointed leaders and citizen group representatives, is tackling the municipality’s pension problems. Pension contribution requirements are gobbling up more and more of municipal budgets. These newcomers are eager to learn more about how the pension systems work, who takes care of them, and what can be done to curb the costs going forward.
In light of all of the national attention focused on government pension benefits in the last few years, an idea that comes to mind is to change or reduce benefits, increase retirement age, or even get rid of the plan altogether. But in Pennsylvania, constitutional protections, pension statutes and collective bargaining agreements limit or prohibit most obvious solutions to growing pension obligations. The upcoming program, “Pensions 101” for Elected Officials, will help participants better understand what they can do to ensure the property management and fiscal health of their community’s pension plan.
A local government’s professional service providers who manage and administer the pension plans can be a municipal official’s most valuable tool in assessing whether there is a potential problem with controlling costs, the source of increasing costs and managing risk. Whether the spike in pension costs is expected to subside once the investment markets recover, or if there are other problems, now is a good time to do a due diligence review of the pension administration, implement cost containment measures (that may or may not involve benefit changes or cutbacks), and lobby state legislators for meaningful pension reform.
Find out more about your roles and responsibilities, the questions you should be asking about the safety and soundness of their community’s pension practices and what you can do to improve the health of your pension plans by attending Pensions 101 for Elected Officials on Thursday, February 2, 2012.
Mockenhaupt Benefits Group