Employee PENSIONS and retiree health care.... are still problems that need solving... and should be a major topic at contract renewal. The 6 year contract ends 2016. History has shown that the Bl. Twp. contracts can be changed/negotiated EARLY.
Doing some research, I came across a Study Session from 12/2/08 minutes... see LINK below.... that indicates that money out of the GENERAL FUND was used to pay Pension benefits rather than taking money out of the then Equities Fund that was set up for paying the Pension liability.
http://bloomfieldtwpmi.minutesondemand.com/ This is how to find the 12/02/08 STUDY SESSION minutes: go to link/ choose Board of Trustees/choose Study Session minutes/ choose 2008/ choose 12/02/08
Please read this link...
QUESTION: WILL THE TRUSTEES TAKE MONEY from the General Fund to pay the Defined Benefit Pension Fund in the future.... while we have in place the $82 million BOND MONEY in an Equity Trust account that was to satisfy the unfunded DB pension?
I HOPE NOT. WHY... do I ask this? Because there will be MANY retires in the next 5-10 years that will most likely deplete a large portion of the EQUITIES money. Quite honestly, I don't see the stock market continuing to rise like it has in the past 3 years. The scenario I can envision is a low balance in the DB Pension Equities Fund and low market returns in the near future. Would/Could the Board meet at a STUDY SESSION... and take money from the General Fund just to preserve what is left in the Equities Fund of the DB Pension Trust? Perhaps.
THIS TIME... the taxpayers of Bloomfield Township have been told that the $82 +/- Million Bond money is to satisfy the Pension liability. THAT MONEY MUST BE USED FIRST....in my opinion.
I asked at a Study Session recently:
- How much money must be transferred into the Prudential Guaranteed Account (or whatever it is called) EACH TIME an employee retires? The answer was approximately $1 MILLION each. When can employees retire? Some can at age 50.
- I then asked: HOW MANY employees are still eligible for retirement IN THIS DB PENSION PLAN? The answer was 188 employees +/- are still eligible for this DB Pension Plan. Currently there are 288 former employees or their beneficiaries still collecting. This DB Pension plan will exist for at least another 50-60 years or possibly more.
- I then asked: How many employees are eligible NOW to retire? I believe the number was in the 80's... but someone said... that is not likely to happen soon... they do not see a "run" to retire on the retirement plan. Really? It could happen. However, 20-40 employees may retire in the next ten years. See the ANNUAL REPORTS for the various departments. Some list the employees and their years of service to date.
- Now think about this: 188 current employees are still eligible to retire in the DB Pension plan...and.... if the cost is $1 Million for each retiree into the Prudential Guaranteed Account the Township MIGHT need: $188,000,000. Ok, maybe not that much because of the life expectancy of those now collecting benefits. But still, money would need to be transferred from the DB Pension Equities Fund... and that has only $75 MILLION +/- currently. This Defined Benefit Pension Plan is still expected to be in operation 50-60 more years.
- I also learned that the COLA (cost of living allowance) to the DB Pension is NOT PART OF THE GUARANTEED PENSION and the Township MUST ADD to the Prudential DB Pension Account... the amount of money to cover those COLA benefits. Can this COLA payment to retirees be eliminated in a future contract?? What IS the dollar figure for COLA payments for the retirees? the current employees?
- The Study Sessions are not audio/video recorded in the main township hall.
- THAT IS A MISTAKE. ALL PUBLIC MEETINGS SHOULD BE ARCHIVED.
- What is really being said at the Study Sessions, the ZBA, the Planning Commision, the Design Review Board, the Lake Boards, etc. ? The minutes do not include what the "Public" ... asked during the "public comment" portion of the agenda. The minutes do not include some other comments that I personally have heard at the meetings that I think are important. Minutes are not verbatim. An audio/video rendering of the meetings are important in my opinion.
- I will continue to fight for full TRANSPARENCY... BUT..
- I NEED YOUR HELP. SPEAK UP TO THE TRUSTEES... DEMAND TO HAVE ALL PUBLIC MEETINGS AUDIO/VIDEO ARCHIVED FOR THE RECORD.
ALSO IN THIS same LINK.. from 12/02/08
is a paragraph talking about RETIREE HEALTH CARE.... and that GASB 45 (Gov.Acct. Standards) states that this will have to be DISCLOSED.
- In this 12/2/08 meeting it was reported that the UNFUNDED liability @ that date is $60,646,000 over a 30 year period.
- So....7 years have gone by... the Township ONLY pays what is needed for each year. Surely, more people have retired in those 7 years. Therefore, WHAT IS THE UNFUNDED liability @ this date: 7/27/15 for the RETIREE HEALTH CARE?? over the LONG TERM?? I understand that the Township is just paying annually... so what is that current figure and what could that figure be over the long term?
- I believe this should be part of the DEBT SUMMARY page of the annual budget. I don't see that there. Please, the BOARD should tell the taxpayer... what is the debt still owed...over the long term... for all the retirees as it relates to health care?
- Also, what is the projected long term health care pension debt for the 188 current employees? Or has that been changed? Is changing the Health Care Plan a negotiable item in future contracts?
QUESTION: What are the annual payments into the NEW PENSION 401k... (or whatever the new pension is called)... for all those hired after 2005?
- How many employees are in this situation?
- What is the new form of pension (for hired after 2005) costing the taxpayers annually?
- Because of the recent (for all employees) 2% raise for 2013 then another 2% for 2014 then another 2% raise for 2015 then another 2% raise for 2016..... and the continued language in some of the contracts permitting longevity or step payments....
- Is there a separate Health Care Retiree Account for those hired after 2005?
- How much does EACH RAISE really cost the taxpayer EACH YEAR in a dollar amount?
QUESTION: With the 6 year employee contract expiring in 2016.... WHO will be doing the negotiations representing the taxpayers?
- It appears as though the 2% raises for each of the 4 last years of that contract were an "EXECUTIVE DECISION" by Supervisor Leo Savoie with the Board of Trustees approving those raises... without much or any discussions as to the TRUE cost of those raises.
- I BELIEVE... that the taxpayers have a right to know WHEN the negotiations begin and WHO is representing all parties and WHAT contract language is written..... before the Board votes on any new employee contract. Employee contract language should be found in the Board Packet for an AGENDA for taxpayer review and comments.
- ALL SEVEN positions at the Township are EXPIRING. At the November 2016 election the taxpayers will choose their leadership....all seven... Supervisor, Clerk, Treasurer and 4 Trustees.
- Will there be CHALLENGERS to the existing Board? Who will be doing the negotiations on the employee contracts or will this board have those expiring contracts completed ahead of schedule?
- ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OUR BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP RETIREES ARE RECEIVING? No names are given for the employees. Go to this link and follow the next steps:
then choose: Board Packet
then choose: 2015
then choose: STUDY SESSION board packet 3/10/15
WAIT for the PDF to load
then go to page 13-19 of the PDF for the current 288 RETIREES PENSION monthly benefits....
FYI: from above document: line 31/ retired in 2011 is ASSUMED BY ME... to be former Supervisor David Payne who receives from the township taxpayers... guaranteed by the Prudential Guaranteed Pension account: a monthly benefit for himself and his beneficiary... $11,122/ month. Apparently each year there is COLA to the retirees... so this figure would change... and this figure does NOT include the cost to the taxpayers for the RETIREE HEALTH CARE COSTS. Some retirees are again "hired" for certain township jobs... does that also change these monthly figures?
Do you think the Bloomfield Township TAXPAYERS need to pay more attention to what is happening at Township Hall? I do.