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Page updated Apr 10, 2012 3:28 PM
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Ad Hoc Retirement Benefits Advisory Group Comments

I am writing regarding the comments from Debbie Ludington submitted on September 2. I apologize to ...more

Theresa Nugent (248) City Staff - 9/06/11 2:35 PM

I believe that regional comparisons ranking Alexandria's employee benefits are deeply flawed. The truth ...more

Amy Flenniken (255) User - 9/02/11 5:21 PM

I concur with Debbie's comment. I worked 20 years part time for the city and had no VRS retirement during ...more

Anne Levy (258) User - 9/02/11 11:40 AM

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the work of the Ad Hoc Retirement Benefit Advisory Group, ...more

Debbie Ludington (257) User - 9/02/11 10:20 AM

See All 4 Comments »

Ad Hoc Retirement Benefit Advisory Group


Purpose of the Group

On January 25, 2011, City Council created this group to: 1) look at the need for any future changes to defined benefit pension plans created under the authority of City Council; 2) examine the current financial status of the City's pension funds; and 3) advise the City manager, the City Council Pension and Compensation Subcommittee, and City Council on any options that should be considered. For more information, read Resolution 2432 which describes Group's task.


Final Report

The Group produced a final report after meeting from March through October. During those eight months the Group reviewed information on the City retirement plans, retirement plans for local comparator jurisdictions, and reports on changes being considered or made to local and national retirement plans. The information that the group reviewed is included in or described in the report and can be found below. The final report includes the following key sections:

  • Section I Executive Summary
  • Section XIII Findings & Observations
  • Section XIV Recommendations


Group Sought Public Comment

The Group sought public feedback in order to produce the final report. A comment board appeared on the City web page from early August to late September to accept public comments. This comment board was advertised on the main City web page and in the August edition of FYI Alexandria. The employee group representatives received input from their employees in meetings, phone calls, and a survey for the General Schedule employees. Beginning in August, the Group provided persons attending its meetings the opportunity to speak to the Group.


Meetings

The Group met from March through October. The meetings, which were open to the public, were posted on the City calendar and on this page. Click on the date to see the meeting agenda and links to handouts. See the bottom of this page for a link to all materials that were provided to the Group during their meetings.

Scheduled Date Minutes Video Time Scheduled Location
March 24, 2011 Minutes N/A 7:00 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
April 4, 2011 Minutes N/A 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
April 27, 2011 Minutes Video 6:30 p.m. Council Workroom
May 9, 2011 Minutes Video 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
May 25 Minutes Video 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
June 15 Minutes Video 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
July 14 Minutes Video 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
August 2 Minutes Video 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
August 23 N/A N/A   Cancelled due to earthquake
September 8 Minutes Video 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
September 19 Minutes Video*
Audio
6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
September 19 Minutes Video*
Audio
6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
September 27
(Date change)
  Video 6:30 p.m. Chet and Sabra Avery Room
(Note: this meeting was originally scheduled for September 28)
October 11   Video 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
October 18 Video 6:30 p.m. Council Workroom, Room 2410, second floor)
October 27   Video 6:30 p.m. Sister Cities 1101
The Group provided an oral report to the City
Council Pension/Compensation Committee which includes
Mayor Euille and Councilman Smedberg
November 9     5:30 p.m. City Council will discuss the final report with Group in a Work Session in Council Workroom 2410, City Hall second floor.
January 18     6:30 p.m. Chet and Sabra Avery Room, City Hall Room 2000
The Group will meet to review its November 9 report in relation to the recently released report from the Joint Legislation Audit and Review Commission (JLARC)g: Review of Retirement Benefits for State and Local Employees. JLARC also issued a briefing of the report.

*An audio recording is included because the video recording stopped after one hour.


Topics for the Group to Review

Following are links to reports and documents that related to the Group's mission. Some, but not all, of these reports and documents were reviewed by the Group during their meetings.

A. Public Retirement Plan Issues and Trends

  1. GASB development
  2. Federal legislative developments
  3. Other state and other local governmental pension trends
    • 2008 Comparative Study of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems prepared by Daniel Schmidt, Senior Analyst, Wisconsin Legislative Council, December 2009; data summary created by City Retirement Administrator
    • Report, Pew Center on the States, April 25, 2011: "The Widening Gap:The Great Recession's Impact on State Pension and Retiree Health Costs"
    • Article, The Washington Examiner, Thursday, May 19, 2011, by Brian Hughes: "MontCo Council approves $33m in pension, health cuts"
    • Article, Pension & Investments Online, May 4, 2011, by Hazel Bradford: "Maryland state workers to put more into pension plans"
    • Report by Hank Kim, Executive Director and Counsel, National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS), Before the Committee of Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight submitted May 5, 2011: "On the Record Statement Regarding the Funding and Transparency of State and Local Pension Plans"
    • Elected Official Toolkit produced by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) as a primer on the funding of public employee pension and retiree health benefits, April 25, 2011.
    • Article, The Washington Examiner, Sunday, June 5, 2011, by Brian Hughes: MontCo Council puts target on police union, disability benefits
    • Article, California Governor Brown to Seek Sweeping Pension Cuts, Fox News.com, October 27, 2011
    • Report: A Better Bang for New York City's Buck - An Efficiency Comparison of Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Defined Contribution Retirement Savings Plan, October 2011, New York City Controller and the National Institute on Retirement Security
    • Article: Rhode Is
  4. Local comparator jurisdictions
  5. Virginia Developments including VRS
  6. National Trends
    • Article, The Economist, April 7, 2011: "Pensions 70 or bust! Current plans to raise the retirement age are not bold enough"
    • Report, Census Bureau 2009 Annual Survey of Public Employee Retirement Systems, April 27, 2011, "Census Bureau Reports State Retirement System Assets Fall $641 Billion in 2009"

B. Plan Features

  1. Participants
  2. Benefits
  3. Funding sources
  4. Financial status as of June 30, 2010
    • Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010 (excerpted pages)
    • Valuation 2010 Virginia Retirement System (excerpted page) projects future employer contribution rates
    • Valuation 2009 Fire and Police Pension Plan (excerpted pages)
    • Valuation 2010 Supplemental Retirement Plan (excerpted pages)
    • Summary of Activity as of December 31, 2010 for the Fire and Police Pension Plan
  5. Financial status of pension funds under different future scenarios
  6. Investments - Asset Allocation/Investment Strategy
  7. Historical perspective

C. Related Web Sites and Information

  • Pensions and Investments online newsletter, published weekly for Pension and Investment professionals, is a good source for current information on the pension world. You will find links to information on defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, and public pension plans under the head Tag Cloud in the center of the page.
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP or the International Foundation) is a nonprofit organization providing information on employee benefits, compensation, and financial literacy for public and private employers.
  • National Conference on Public Employees Retirement Systems (NCPERS) is a nonprofit public pension advocate and trade association working to protect the pension of public employees. They focus on advocacy, research, and education for the benefit of public section pension trustees, administrators, and government officials.
  • The National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) is a nonprofit association whose members oversee retirement systems that provide pension and other benefits to most state and local government employees.
  • Freedom of Information


Group Members

Mayor William D. Euille appointed the following members to the Group.

Members Alternates Represents
Russell Bailey   Public
Janine Bosley   Public
Shane Cochran Jennifer Harris Employees - General Schedule
Michael Cross Patrick Evans Employees - Firefighters
Brenda D'Sylva Marietta Robinson Employees - General Schedule
Robert Gilmore Jarrod Overstreet Employees - Deputy Sheriffs
James McNeil   Public
Edward Milner Albert Tierney Employees - Police Officers
Lonnie Phillips Nancy McFadden Employees - Medics/Fire Marshals
James Ray   Public
Len Rubenstein   Public
David Speck   Public
Laura B. Triggs   City Manager

Materials Provided to the Group

Document Distributed to Group
Coversheet for March 24 Meeting March 24, 2011
Agenda March 24, 2011 March 17, 2011
Resolution 2432 Creating Group March 24, 2011
Proposed Work Plan March 24, 2011
FOIA Brochure March 24, 2011
Retirement Summary - Firefighters and Police Officers March 24, 2011
Retirement Summary - Deputy Sheriffs, Medics, and Fire Marshals March 24, 2011
Retirement Summary - General Schedule City Employees March 24, 2011
Summary - Voluntary Savings Plans (457 and Payroll Deduction Roth Plans March 24, 2011
Letter from Virginia General Assembly calling for review of the Virginia Retirement System March 24, 2011
Budget Memo #16 employer and Employee Retirement Contribution Rates FY 1988 - FY 2012 Proposed March 24, 2011
Pages excerpted from Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 March 24, 2011
Agenda April 4, 2011 March 28, 2011
Minutes March 24, 2011 April 4, 2011
Plan Membership April 4, 2011
Benefits Overview of City Retirement Benefits with examples April 4, 2011
Pension Contributions April 4, 2011
Valuation 2009 Fire and Police Plan excerpted pages April 4, 2011
Valuation 2010 Supplemental Retirement Plan excerpted pages April 4, 2011
Valuation 2010 Virginia Retirement System excerpted pages April 4, 2011
Local Comparators retirement benefits April 4, 2011
History of Pension Changes - City and national April 4, 2011
The Freedom of Information Act and Local Government Officials (2009) April 4, 2011
Agenda April 27, 2011 April 20, 2011
Minutes of April 4, 2011 April 27, 2011
Local Comparators, revised April 27, 2011 April 27, 2011
Social Security Offsets/Integration April 27, 2011
Local Comparators Benefit Examples, revised April 27, 2011 April 27, 2011
Recent Retirement Plan Changes Virginia Public Plans April 27, 2011
Trends in Public Pensions [NOTE: Report has outdated information; refer pages 58 - 64] April 27, 2011
VRS Plan 1 and Plan 2 Effective July 1, 2010 - 2010 Legislative Changes Affecting Future Members April 27, 2011
2011 General Assembly Summary April 27, 2011
Data Summary: 2008 Comparative Study of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems April 27, 2011
Article, Pensions & Investments, December 13, 2010, by Doug Halonen: "Battle lines form over
public plan disclosure"
April 27, 2011
Client Advisory from Cheiron, Actuary for City's pension plans: GASB Preliminary Views on
Pension Reporting Point to Radical Shift in Accounting Practices
April 27, 2011
Agenda May 9, 2011 May 2, 2011
Agenda May 25, 2011 May 17, 2011
Agenda June 15, 2011 June 15, 2011
Minutes of May 25, 2011 June 15, 2011
Projecting Contribution Rates June 15, 2011
Employer Match to Deferred Compensation, survey information for the Association of Municipal Retirement Systems-Virginia (AMRSVA) June 15, 2011
Local Comparators charts, revised June 15, 2011 June 15, 2011
Update on the GASB Pension Accounting Project, presented by Steve McElhaney, FSA, Cheiron June 15, 2011
Agenda July 14, 2011 July 14, 2011
Minutes of June 15, 2011 July 14, 2011
Discussion Guide, revised July 14, 2011
Presentation on behalf of Firefighters and Police Officers by Michael Cross and Edward Milner July 14, 2011
Presentation on behalf of Firefighters and Police Officers Excerpt Docket Items 11 and 12 February 21, 2004 City Council Docket July 14, 2011
Presentation on behalf of Firefighters and Police Officers NASRA Brief: Public Pension Plan Investment Return Assumptions July 14, 2011
Presentation from staff Enhancing Sustainability Part 1 July 14, 2011
Presentation from staff Enhancing Sustainability Part 2 July 14, 2011
Sample Early Retirement Calculation for VRS and the Supplemental Retirement Plan for Deputy Sheriffs, Medics, and Fire Marshals July 14, 2011
Agenda August 2, 2011 August 2, 2011
Minutes July 14, 2011 August 2, 2011
Pensions as a Percent of Total Budget, revised (includes contribution history) August 2, 2011
Eligibility for City of Alexandria Retiree Health Benefits August 2, 2011
Presentation on behalf of Deputy Sheriffs presented by Robert Gilmore August 2, 2011
Presentation on behalf of Medics presented by Lonnie Phillips August 2, 2011
Agenda September 8 September 8, 2011
Minutes August 2, 2011 September 8, 2011
Presentation Part 1 on behalf of the General Schedule Employees by Shane Cochran September 8, 2011
and Summary of Recommendations  
Presentation Part 2 on behalf of the General Schedule Employees by Brenda D'Sylva September 8, 2011
Excerpt from City Council Budget Work Session October 19, 2010 - pages 28 - 44 September 8, 2011
FYI Alexandria August 2011 includes request for Public Input September 8, 2011
Letter from City Manager James Hartmann to Patrick Cozza dated April 4, 2008 regarding employer contributions to the Retirement Income Plan (Sheriff/EMT/Fire Marshal Pension Plan September 8, 2011
Public Input posted on the City web page's Comment Board regarding the Group September 8, 2011
Discussion Guide for Report to City Council Draft 1A (this document is a draft and subject to updates and revisions until it is presented to City Council) September 8, 2011
Proposed Agenda September 19 September 19, 2011
Minutes of September 8 meeting September 19, 2011
Email from Virginia Retirement System (VRS) regarding participation in VRS and the City paying the same contributions for each retirement plan September 19, 2011
Replacement Ratio includes retirement benefit and Social Security benefit for average salary in each of the three retirement plans September 19, 2011
Average Salaries of Recent Retirees September 19, 2011
Memo from Acting City Manager Bruce Johnson dated September 19 to the Ad Hoc Retirement Benefit Advisory Group regarding trigger mechanism September 19, 2011
Current Contributions Rate Structure Fire and Police Plan - graphic illustration of a trigger mechanism September 19, 2011
Email comments dated September 15 from Group member Mr. Bailey September 19, 2011
Email comments dated September 18 from Group member Mr. Rubenstein September 19, 2011
Agenda September 27 September 27, 2011
Minutes September 19, 2011 September 27, 2011
Draft 2 pages 41 - 65 September 27, 2011
Comments to Draft 1A from Group member Mr. Rubenstein September 27, 2011
Comments to Draft 1A from Group member Mr. Cochran September 27, 2011
Recent Information on bond ratings September 27, 2011
Agenda October 11, 2011
Minutes September 27, 2011 October 11, 2011
Report Draft #3 October 11, 2011
Language change/revisions submitted by Mr. Rubenstein October 11, 2011
Response to the Group's Observations and Recommendation from Acting City Manager Bruce Johnson October 11, 2011
Agenda October 18, 2011
Report Draft #4 October 18, 2011
Language change/revisions submitted by Mr. Rubenstein October 18, 2011
Memo from Deputy City Manager Michele Evans dated October 17, 2011 regarding the City Supplemental Pension Plan and Employees of the Alexandria Health Department October 18, 2011
Selected Turnover Analysis July 2008 - July 2011 October 18, 2011
Recommendations & Observations from staff October 18, 2011
Recommendations from General Schedule Employees October 18, 2011
Presentation summary for staff October 18, 2011
Presentation summary for General Schedule employees October 18, 2011
Presentation summary for Deputy Sheriffs October 18, 2011
Excerpt from October 17, 2011 Council Budget Work Session October 18, 2011
Agenda October 27, 2011
Draft Report #5 October 27, 2011
Oral Report Outline October 27, 2011
Language change/revision Police and Fire Expectations October 27, 2011
Recommendations submitted by General Schedule employees on October 27 October 27, 2011

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