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NEWS
January 29, 2012
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Stephen G. Samuel Moxley and Vincent Gardina all have something in common - double-dipping ("Halfway ethical," Dec. 28). Mr. Gardina, who held five consecutive terms on the Baltimore County Council is now head of the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability. That's a position Mr. Kamenetz created just for him, a payback if you will. Mr. Gardina was owed a favor as he donated nearly $160,000 to Mr. Kamenetz's campaign.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
July 14, 2014
Regarding your article "Police, fire unions oppose mayor's new pension plan" (July 8), why do these two groups of public service employees think they are better than the tax payers of Maryland? What other employer lets it's employees retire after 20 years of service and pays for their pensions and health care for the rest of their lives? I know several retired policemen who receive their pensions and now work for the Department of Homeland Security, from which they will collect another pension paid for by taxpayers.
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NEWS
By Kenneth Solow | April 11, 2011
Maryland's state retirement pension system is currently $19 billion in the hole, even after earning a credible 14 percent during the 2010 fiscal year. Much of the unfunded actuarial liability can be attributed to the pension fund's abysmal investment performance during the 2007-2009 bear market, when the portfolio lost 20 percent of its value. The plan's current investment strategy doesn't appear to be structured to perform any better in the next recession, perhaps because plan returns are actuarially "smoothed" to diminish the impact of such a terrible year.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | July 8, 2014
Baltimore's police and fire unions are fighting a new proposal from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to privatize part of the pensions of new employees — a move union officials argue will make it harder to recruit and retain the best young officers. City finance officials say the privatization plan is the latest step needed to save the Fire and Police Employees' Retirement System, which they say is struggling and carries a $765 million unfunded liability. But union officials say the threat of pension collapse is overblown, and maintain that weaker benefits will cause talented recruits to go elsewhere.
NEWS
By Annie Linskey and Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun | April 6, 2011
Maryland's General Assembly is poised to make the deepest cuts to the state's retirement system in nearly three decades, asking most of the roughly 170,000 teachers and government employees to pay more into a pension plan that is about to become less generous. The nearly 120,000 retirees also will see reduced benefits: They'll pay more each year for prescription medications. The overhaul pains the same people, labor unions and teachers, who helped Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley to a double-digit re-election victory in the fall.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | February 15, 2012
County leaders and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings-Blake came together Wednesday in Annapolis to fight the governor's proposal to shift part of the cost of teacher pensions to local governments, saying they would have to cut deeply into essential services to pay for such a change. "This puts a potentially devastating squeeze on local government," said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, a Democrat. "Find the $239 million somewhere else in the budget. " The local officials pointed to libraries, public safety and education as services that could be hurt if the General Assembly transfers millions of dollars in costs to them.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | July 8, 2014
Baltimore's police and fire unions are fighting a new proposal from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to privatize part of the pensions of new employees — a move union officials argue will make it harder to recruit and retain the best young officers. City finance officials say the privatization plan is the latest step needed to save the Fire and Police Employees' Retirement System, which they say is struggling and carries a $765 million unfunded liability. But union officials say the threat of pension collapse is overblown, and maintain that weaker benefits will cause talented recruits to go elsewhere.
EXPLORE
March 3, 2012
The Maryland General Assembly is currently debating a proposal from Gov. Martin O'Malley to shift hundreds of millions of dollars in pension costs from the state to the county governments. Counties disagree that this shift will do anything to improve the sustainability of state pension funding. Years ago, Annapolis took the pension away from the counties, broke it by raising benefit levels and now wants to give it back and force us to pay the bill for their financial frivolity.
BUSINESS
March 27, 1991
In many cases, the health of a pension plan is undermined by the conduct of the plan's managers, not by problems facing the company.If you think something fishy is going on with your pension plan, pursue it.The fund's managers should be investing the money in the best interests of the people covered by the plan. But if you think your pension managers are making risky investments, failing to diversify, spending too much on administration, or violating the trust of the plan's members in other ways, you should report them.
NEWS
By John Rivera and John Rivera,Staff Writer | May 7, 1993
The Anne Arundel County Council last night postponed action on a bill that would close loopholes in the pension plan for elected and appointed officials.Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, an Annapolis Democrat, held back her bill until the county attorney and the council's lawyer determine whether its provisions violate state law.The bill is intended to address a situation in which state employees can come into county government and, without contributing to the pension fund, draw a county pension on retirement.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | May 5, 2014
Some future city workers will receive a 401(k)-style retirement plan rather than traditional pensions under a sweeping plan approved Monday by the City Council. The legislation - the result of a deal struck by Baltimore unions and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake - was stalled in a council committee for nearly a year until the mayor and union leader Glenard S. Middleton reached what both sides called a compromise. Rawlings-Blake initially called for all new municipal workers to be placed in a 401(k)
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | April 1, 2014
A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that Baltimore County discriminated against older employees when it required them to contribute more to their pensions than younger employees. Since 2007, the county has battled a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of two retired corrections officers who said the pension system violated the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Monday's ruling by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirms a 2012 lower-court decision and could result in millions of dollars in damages.
NEWS
March 14, 2014
I was not surprised to see Gov. Martin O'Malley fail to honor the state obligation to provide annual funding to the State Pension Plan to restore it to fiscal stability ( "Franchot, Kopp fight transfer of pension money," Feb. 26). It is pretty consistent behavior. What has amazed me is that teachers associations, including the state organization, MSTA, have lined up in support of this fiscally destructive move, despite the impact on the future welfare of their membership. The excuse given is that, without the pension plan dollars, education funding would have to be cut at the state level, impacting, for one thing, teacher salaries.
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
January 27, 2014
In Baltimore City, there are still pension enhancement programs in place (called a "DROP Program") to offer an incentive for active police officers and firefighters not to retire, but retired police officers and firefighters have gone almost seven years without any type of cost-of-living raise (including those injured in the line of duty, which is just shameful). The only exception to this is for those 55 years old and even then they get a paltry 1 percent cost-of-living increase. It should be noted that no other group of former city employees or retired elected officeholders have been frozen like the police and firefighters.
NEWS
October 1, 2013
Gov. Martin O'Malley really positioned Maryland for "doomsday" when he bullied the state legislature to pass a higher tax rate on incomes in excess of $100,000 instead of dealing with the real problem, the enormous costs of the state's public employees' pension plan. By labeling a budget that was hundreds of millions of dollars greater than the previous year's a "doomsday budget," he placed Maryland among the top-10 highest taxing states thus removing us from future consideration of large private sector employers and making us dependent on the taxes from the masses of federal employees who live in the state.
BUSINESS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | December 6, 2005
Verizon Communications Inc., the nation's second-largest phone company, said yesterday that it would freeze the guaranteed pension plan covering 50,000 of its managers and expand their 401(k) plans instead. In freezing the plan, the company will pay workers the benefits they have already earned but will not let them build up additional benefits. Verizon also said it would contribute less to the health care benefits of those managers when they retire. Over all, the company hopes to save about $3 billion over the next decade by taking these steps.
NEWS
By Mike Farabaugh and Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer | May 14, 1995
Harford County sheriff's deputies say their pension plan badly needs an overhaul.The requirements -- 30 years of service or age 62 -- far exceed those of other law enforcement agencies in the Baltimore area. ++ Most of those permit retirement after 20 years or at age 50."Police patrol work is a young man's job," Deputy 1st Class John J. Miner, president of Local 838 of the Harford County Sheriff's Deputies Union, said recently. "Even if you join the agency at 21, add 30 years and that's too old to be rolling around on some street fighting with a 16-year-old."
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | June 24, 2013
Two key budgetary measures are headed to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's desk after the City Council gave final approval Monday to new storm water fees and a pension overhaul. The new storm water fees will cost homeowners between $40 and $120 a year. The rate depends on the amount of impervious surfaces that allow rainwater to wash pollution into Chesapeake Bay tributaries. The council signed off on the fees — included in the city's $2.4 billion operating budget — without discussion.
SPORTS
January 7, 2013
NHLPA wins, fans lose Harvey Fialkov Sun Sentinel NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the greedy owners got their 50-50 hockey-related revenue split, a 7 percent decrease for the players. But NHLPA leader Donald Fehr got the better of the deal on maximum length of contracts, next year's $64.3 million salary cap and a more defined pension plan. The empty rinks stuck it to arena workers and ancillary businesses that depend on game-day patronage. Bettman stuck a knife into the backs of new TV partners by wiping out 480 games, including All-Star weekend and the Winter Classic.
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