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By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 22, 2013
The Maryland state employees' pension system reported last week that it grew to more than $40 billion during the 12 months that ended June 30 as it posted a 10.6 percent return on its investments. That performance exceeds both the state's assumption that it would earn 7.75 percent and the 8.6 percent average performance for the types of assets that the fund owns. Pension fund officials pointed to the showing as vindication of its investment strategies, which have been criticized by a conservative think tank.
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NEWS
By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun | April 21, 2014
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has filed a lawsuit against oil company BP over investment losses following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, alleging that the state's pension fund lost millions after the company misled the public about its safety protocols. BP made "false and misleading statements regarding its commitment to safety reforms and oil spill prevention and response capabilities," Gansler said. He said those misstatements gave investors like the Maryland pension fund unwarranted confidence in the company, which should "be held accountable for the losses that have occurred.
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NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | October 4, 2013
Baltimore County has repaid more than $13 million it borrowed last year from its employees' pension fund, leading the county police union to drop a lawsuit over the loan. The county recently paid about $13.1 million, plus more than $500,000 in interest, for the loan, which it took out in 2012 to upgrade a transfer station and build a single-stream recycling system in Cockeysville. Union leaders said this week they were pleased the money was paid back and have filed paperwork to drop their lawsuit against the county retirement system's board of trustees.
NEWS
April 11, 2014
Regarding The Sun's assessment of the General Assembly session just ended, I am equally underwhelmed by the current state legislature but for completely different reasons ("General Assembly 2014: The good, bad and so-so," April 8). I view our career politician form of government as an annual shopping trip in which lawmakers spend, spend, spend and recite the Maryland mantra of "we haven't raised that tax in X years. " Considering Maryland has every tax there is right down to one for flushing your toilet, that is a large list.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 14, 2013
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which has slipped back into deficit territory partly because of pension fund obligations, has planned a concert to do something about that. The program has what should be a big draw -- music by celebrated film composer John Williams. Proceeds will benefit the BSO musicians' pension fund, and since Williams is donating his services, that gives those proceeds all the more potential. Williams, who has earned five Oscars and nearly 10 times that many nominations, will lead the BSO in selections from his scores for such hits as "Star Wars" and "E.T," not to mention the sagas of "Indiana Jones" and "Harry Potter.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | August 9, 2010
Maryland will play a crucial role in the legal fallout from Toyota vehicle recalls, with the state's public pension fund being chosen to represent the grievances of investors nationwide who blame the Japanese automaker for their financial losses. The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System claims the biggest loss — an estimated $18 million — of any shareholder that vied to be lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp. The system administers retirement and pension benefits for more than 400,000 retirees, beneficiaries and current state employees.
NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2013
A Baltimore County police union is suing the county retirement system's board of trustees over a $25 million loan the county took from the pension fund to update recycling facilities in Cockeysville. In a lawsuit filed last week in Circuit Court, the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4 claims the deal reflects a breach of duty, and the board did not get enough advice on the consequences of the loan or obtain adequate security. "We have a responsibility to the people we represent, and quite frankly, all county employees should be concerned about this," said union President Cole Weston.
NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | August 2, 2012
Baltimore County plans to borrow $25 million from its pension system to upgrade recycling facilities, a move some County Council members and union leaders are questioning. The county retirement system's board of trustees approved the loan last month at the request of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's administration. In an interview Thursday, Kamenetz called the move prudent, saying it would serve both the retirement system and the county well. The county plans to borrow the money at an interest rate of 7.875 percent and repay it within 15 years.
NEWS
September 16, 1993
County Councilman Edward Middlebrooks withdrew yesterday from the county's troubled pension fund for elected and appointed officials, saying the move was "the right thing to do."Mr. Middlebrooks is not yet vested in the pension system, having served fewer than three years in office.Five years of service are required to become vested.The Severn Democrat submitted a letter today to the county asking to be removed from the pension fund. He said he expects that he will receive whatever he put into the fund.
NEWS
By John Rivera and John Rivera,Staff Writer | June 20, 1993
Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall has decided not to let anyone else enter a financially troubled pension fund for elected and appointed county officials, and is studying ways to merge it with another plan.The pension fund has been denounced as a gravy train because it allowed people to retire after they accumulated 16 years of service, either with the county, the state or some other subdivision. Someone could join the pension fund with the required 16 years of service and retire after just one day.In addition, the pension became even more attractive when the County Council passed a bill in 1989 that lowered the retirement age to 50 and increased the retirement benefit from 2 percent for every year worked, up to 20, to 2 1/2 percent.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | February 26, 2014
Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot warned senators Wednesday that Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to divert $100 million a year from the state pension fund to next year's budget threatens the long-term health of the retirement system. The two officials — who make up two-thirds of the powerful Board of Public Works — made a rare joint appearance before the Senate budget committee to ask senators to find another way to balance the state budget. They cautioned that the agencies that rate the state's bonds are already concerned about the condition of the state's pension fund, saying the transfer of $100 million could prompt a reconsideration of the state's AAA bond rating.
NEWS
February 4, 2014
In 2011, Maryland's state government was facing significant budget challenges in both the short term and the long term. The lingering effects of the recession and the waning of federal stimulus funds had blown a hole of about $1.6 billion in the state's general fund budget for the next year. And the stock market crash coupled with a history of under-investment had caused a precipitous drop in the levels of funding for the state's employee pension systems, meaning big liabilities for the state in the decades ahead.
NEWS
By Mark Newgent | January 24, 2014
Yesterday, Governor O'Malley delivered his eighth - and thankfully - final state of the state address of his administration.   And, as usual, his speech was filled with so much that isn't so.  Now, I've done a few O'Malley fact checks over the years, including his recent tussle with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and his lead balloon of a speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  However, fact checking O'Malley's 2014 state...
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and The Baltimore Sun | November 8, 2013
Opposition is mounting on the City Council against Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's latest sweeping pension change, which would switch new city employees from a traditional pension system to a 401(k)-style plan. City Councilwoman Helen Holton, chair of the budget committee, has introduced an alternative plan that would allow workers who make less than $40,000 - more than 70 percent of all municipal employees -- to keep a traditional pension. The alternative plan, which would require new workers to pay 5 percent of their salaries into the pension fund, would save the city $43 million over 10 years in upfront costs, according to Dan Doonan, an economist for the international union that represents many city workers.
NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | October 4, 2013
Baltimore County has repaid more than $13 million it borrowed last year from its employees' pension fund, leading the county police union to drop a lawsuit over the loan. The county recently paid about $13.1 million, plus more than $500,000 in interest, for the loan, which it took out in 2012 to upgrade a transfer station and build a single-stream recycling system in Cockeysville. Union leaders said this week they were pleased the money was paid back and have filed paperwork to drop their lawsuit against the county retirement system's board of trustees.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 22, 2013
The Maryland state employees' pension system reported last week that it grew to more than $40 billion during the 12 months that ended June 30 as it posted a 10.6 percent return on its investments. That performance exceeds both the state's assumption that it would earn 7.75 percent and the 8.6 percent average performance for the types of assets that the fund owns. Pension fund officials pointed to the showing as vindication of its investment strategies, which have been criticized by a conservative think tank.
BUSINESS
By Kim Clark and Kim Clark,Staff Writer Dow Jones News Service contributed to this article | May 15, 1992
Cash-strapped Bethlehem Steel Corp. didn't make a payment to its pension fund in the first three months of 1992, the first quarter in nearly six years that the nation's second-largest steelmaker had not done so.Bethlehem, which has 7,000 employees and about twice that number of retirees in Maryland, has one of the nation's biggest unfunded liabilities for a pension plan -- $1.02 billion. Companies with unfunded liabilities owe more to their retirees and employees than they have set aside.
NEWS
By Annie Linskey and Annie Linskey,annie.linskey@baltsun.com | February 12, 2009
Officials of the Baltimore fire and police pension fund painted a grim financial picture yesterday, laying the groundwork for requesting tens of millions of dollars from city coffers. The value of the fund has dropped by $554 million in the past 2 1/2 years, officials said. More than half of the decline came from scheduled benefit payouts, and the rest resulted from the plummeting stock market. "Revenue has dropped dramatically," said Thomas P. Taneyhill, the executive director of the fund, speaking at the city Board of Estimates meeting.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and The Baltimore Sun | July 15, 2013
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake today plans to introduce legislation to switch new city employees from the a traditional pension system to a 401(k)-style plan.  By implementing the switch, the city expects to save $1 million in fiscal year 2014, with increased savings each year until 2022, when city officials say they will save $7.8 million. Under the proposal, new city employees would be required to contribute 5 percent of their salaries to their retirement accounts, with the city contributing an additional 4 percent.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | May 21, 2013
With the city retirement system short hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, officials say they are likely to begin requiring municipal employees to contribute to their pensions. "Pretty much everyone is in agreement that it's fair," said Carl Stokes, chairman of the City Council's finance committee. "Those who are benefiting from the pensions should be contributing to them. " The finance committee is scheduled to hear testimony Thursday on a proposal by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to require thousands of civilian employees to begin making contributions.
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