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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Atlanta City Council apparently reaches compromise on pension overhaul — but process continues

After a hectic Wednesday afternoon cutting deals on pension reform, the Atlanta City Council has apparently reached a compromise on the overhaul to public employees' pension plans. Councilmembers, who met today in a special-called meeting, have scheduled another sitdown for next Wednesday at 3 p.m. — just hours before the budget deadline — to possibly vote on the proposal.

Most councilmembers are said to support the so-called "city plan," which we've been told by a source close to the proceedings is a hybrid of the proposals offered by Councilwomen Yolanda Adrean and Felicia Moore.

According to officials' testimony during the meeting, the plan could save the city as much as $215 million over 10 years — much more than the other proposals. We're told Councilman C.T. Martin played a key role in brokering the deal. (We're working on getting specifics about the proposal. If you get your hands on details before we do, please post them in the comments See update below.)

Council President Ceasar Mitchell moved to table the proposal to allow Mayor Kasim Reed's staff and the law department to continue vetting the proposal and give his colleagues time to speak with employee union heads.

Councilman Ivory Young questioned why the compromise was being tabled, especially when a majority of the body supported the proposal. Others, including Councilwoman Felicia Moore, wanted more time to digest the plan.

UPDATE, 1:04 p.m.: Via the mayor's office, here are the details. Is there an accountant in the house who'd like to offer his or her take?

Changes for current employees in defined benefit plans:
- Employees would contribute an extra 5% to keep their existing benefits with no other changes. Contribution goes up to 13% (with beneficiary) or 12% (with no beneficiary)

Changes for Future employees grade 18 below or sworn APD/AFR:
-Employees go into a hybrid plan with a 1% DB (8% employee contribution) a 3.75% mandatory DC (100% matched) and up to 4.25% voluntary DC (100% matched by City)
-15 year vesting for defined benefit and 5 year vesting for DC

Other changes in defined benefit portion for future employees grade 18 below or sworn:
-Addition of two more years to retirement age (General=62 and sworn AFR/APD=57) -Retirement no more than 10 years earlier than normal retirement age -No application of sick leave in defined benefit -Highest consecutive 10 year salary applies

No change to current employees in DC plan and all future employees grade 19 and above continue to go into a 6% DC plan.

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