Council to hold hearing on funding of officials' pension plan

August 15, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

The County Council will hold a public hearing tonight on yet another bill to help fix the financially troubled pension plan for elected and appointed officials.

This latest bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, would correct a portion of the under-funding of the appointed and elected officials pension plan.

That under-funding was caused by county employees who were allowed to transfer into the more lucrative officials' plan without also transferring employer and employee pension contributions.

The practice had been to grant the service credit in the officials' plan, but without transferring the assets the county employee had accrued in one of the other county pension plans.

According to the county auditor's office, such transfers increased the liability of the appointed and elected officials pension plan by $4.1 million. The bill, if passed, would result in the transfer of approximately $1.4 million from the employees' plan to the officials' plan.

Such service transfers, both from other county pension funds and from the state's pension system, were a major factor in causing a $14 million unfunded liability in the officials pension fund. Under state law, officials may transfer their accumulated years of service from a state or local government but do not have to transfer pension assets.

A 1989 County Council law that increased benefits for appointed officials and lowered the retirement age for all plan participants also contributed to the liability.

Marvin Redding, president of the union that represents the county's blue collar workers, said he will attend the hearing to make sure the county doesn't try to repair the appointed and elected officials plan at the expense of his membership's plan.

"Our pension is probably in the best shape of any in the county," Mr. Redding said. "There are a lot of things happening with pensions in the county that might be dumped on us."

The council will also hold public hearings on:

* Ms. Lamb's bill requiring licenses for cats, just as dogs are licensed.

* Councilwoman Virginia Clagett's bill establishing a Scenic and Historic Roads Commission to protect the county's noteworthy thoroughfares.

The commission will have 17 members: two from each council district, two appointed by the county executive and one representative from the Anne Arundel Trade Council.

It will be able to designate scenic and historic roads and recommend changes in the county code and general development plan to preserve those roads.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

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