As we have been saying over the past few months, your Retirement System is once again under attack. After a number of presentations to the Board of Supervisors, a "Workgroup" was stood up comprising representatives from different employee representatives from across the County workforce along with Supervisors Penny Gross and John Cook. You can see the webpage, along with all of the materials that have been discussed, here.
After much handwringing and head scratching, the workgroup decided to slow things down and work through the information developed so far. If you go to the link above, you will see a number of proposed packages that were developed by the Department of Management and Budget. None of packages are particularly advantageous, and all call for adverse changes to our systems.
The workgroup, which is made up of a handful employee representatives, County senior staff like the heads of DHR and Management and Budget, and two Supervisors- Supervisor Penny Gross of Mason District and Supervisor John Cook of Braddock District, came to a decision together to slow the process down and commission a survey for employees to give more people a chance to weight in on what they thought of proposed changes. Furthermore, discussions we had with other Supervisor offices alluded to the fact that at least a majority of the Board was OK with allowing a survey to go through, as long as the matter was being presented by May/ June.
However, it appears Chairman Sharon Bulova unilaterally ordered the workgroup back to the table, and has demanded that the workgroup return with recommendations by the time of the public Budget hearings in April. As stated above, none of these packages are particularly appealing, and all have some level of adverse impact. They re trying to hide behind this is only for new hires, but these changes will be significant and run the risk of developing a myriad of unintended consequences such as creating castes of employees, souring prospective employees from coming to the workforce, and driving those away that no longer feel valued.
So what does this mean for you and your retirement? Nothing good that is for sure. Right now we need your action and for you to get involved. The news about the workgroup having to meet is relatively new, and came out late Friday.
The next meeting is on March 13, 2018 at 1100 at the Government Center, Room 232. We would like to get as many people to show up on Tuesday as we can. If you can make it, even for just a few minutes, it would be greatly appreciated.
I realize that it is not convenient and it is in the middle of the day, but this is an incredibly important issue FOR US ALL, and we need to stand up and say we will not just be rolled over so that the Chairman and the rest of the Board can kowtow to a handful of agitators who say that you can retire after 25 years and get a benefit (retirement) that you don't deserve.
In addition, or in lieu of, showing up on Tuesday, if you have the opportunity to send in the attached letter it would be greatly appreciated. Instructions are included on the document.
As we have stated before, we see no reason to alter any of the Retirement Systems. They are all healthy, well managed, and their performance and funding continue to trend upward as they have for years. They are not generous, as pretty much every BOS member has coined them, but relatively adequate, for now. In fact, I learned an interesting fact this week that the number of retirees that have to write a check BACK to the County every month to cover their insurance costs is growing significantly. However, most of the Board has become convinced that they are sinking the County and must be altered in some way. WE ALL NEED to be engaged and ready to fight for our retirement systems.