Retirement System A Go-Go

County Employee Program 72 Percent Funded

The county’s employee retirement system is 72-percent funded, according to a report given by chief Gary Amelio to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. In fiscal year 2011, the value of the plan assets was $2 billion and the unfunded accrued liability was $2.7 billion, leaving $741.9 million in unfunded liability. In 2008, the plan was more than 88-percent funded, but dropped, along with the economic collapse, to 75-percent funded in 2009. Still, there is reason to be optimistic. Members contributed $10.8 million, the county contributed $94 million, and the plan got $350.8 million in investment return. “I don’t think the problem is too big to fix,” Amelio said. “We’re fixing it every year.”

Statewide pension reform will also begin to impact employer contribution to the fund, which will start to decrease as the reform kicks into place. The pension reform applies to employees hired after January 1, 2013. Currently, the county’s 3,507 retirees on average receive $2,817 in monthly benefits. The average age of those retirees is 69.3 years old. The reform, among other things, will switch the formula for general employees to 2 percent at age 62, and 2.7 percent at age 57 for public-safety employees. There will also be a cap on pensionable income, and some items of compensation are no longer pensionable.

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