W’burg City Council takes stand on pension reform
Posted On September 13, 2017 By Mark White
As talk of reforming Kentucky’s retirement system continues with a potential special called legislative session pending, the Williamsburg City Council is throwing its support behind a plan that would separate the retirement system for city and county employees from that of state workers.
During its monthly meeting Monday, the council unanimously approved a resolution supporting a plan to maintain the current structure and benefits of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) while separating it from the Kentucky Retirement System (KRS).
“Things are changing every day with the retirement issue,” Mayor Roddy Harrison told the council. “Our job is to take care of the CERS people.”
Harrison noted a recent study to reform the retirement system included some ridiculous proposals, such as rolling back cost of living adjustments for current retirees.
Another of the ridiculous proposals includes freezing the current benefits of people that have been paying into the system for more than 20 years, and forcing them into a 401-K style system for future benefits.
Harrison noted the resolution is something several other cities have passed.
In addition to separating the two retirement systems, it would create a nine-person board to oversee the County Employee Retirement System. The current 17-member Kentucky Retirement System Board of Trustees has only six seats for County Employee Retirement System representatives.
Harrison noted the County Employee Retirement System has the largest group of participants, and passage of the resolution gives it greater leverage when negotiations over the pension reform starts.
Gov. Matt Bevin has said he plans to call a special session this fall to address the issue.
Councilman Loren Connell noted that while he supports the resolution, it could have unintended consequences.
For instance, if the retirement systems were separated, it would create a smaller pool of participants, which could raise the health insurance costs for retirees.
Councilman Richard Foley noted that he doubts the retirement systems will actually become separated.