|Former Coral Gables Top Bananas (sans Slesnick who supports Cabrera) Endorsed Cason. Genius Asks: Is that good or bad?|
It hurts me to say this, because these folks gave sincerely of their time in public service, but it needs to be said, that ALL Commissions share in the good and the bad things that happen, individually and collectively. That’s just how it rolls!
We all do the best we can with the information before us, but to let one group take the blame alone, ones that actually did something to enact pension reform is just wrong.
So, while Superhero Jim is blaming the 2001-2011 Commission, let’s analyze some real facts to clear up the falsehoods spread by the Superhero’s campaign.
“Just the facts, ma’am.” said Sergeant Joe Friday…
Mayor Corrigan was Mayor in 1988-89 when the city made the system non-contributory, and then Mayors Raul Valdes-Fauli and Dorothy Thomson were there in the 1990s when the retirement plan was heavily vested in stocks. These are facts, on the historical time-space continuum, and not accusations on individuals.
Boom, bang, zoom!
In came the 2001 dot.com bubble bust where all hell broke loose on the stock market and our plan took a “full metal jacket” and lost oodles of money; money the city had to make up, dramatically increasing the now magic “buzz” word “unfunded liability”.
I can leap tall buildings in a single bound…
After all, Superhero Jim has been the only one who has done anything in the last millennium to fix the city’s pension issue; Mayor Slesnick, Vice-Mayor Kerdyk, Commissioners Cabrera, Withers and I single-handedly destroyed it, sitting on our hands, singing laments and doing nothing.
“For ten years nothing was done other than lamentations…I came in and decided we needed pension reform we could live with…” (Mayor Jim Cason, Candidate Forum, March 21, 2013)
Drum roll please…
Here’s the truth Cason isn’t telling…the heavy lifting to correct the pension issues occurred from 2001-2011!
• From 1989 – 2003, city systems was non-contributory, the city paid 100% of employees contributionAnd now for the “piece de resistance” Superhero Jim is going to ask the residents of Coral Gables to vote on $16 million dollars of new debt to pay for downtown street improvements! *
• In 2003, it became a contributory system again, and 2 of 3 unions came on board
• In 2009, the final union began to participate
• Overtime, that people could use towards their retirement calculations, was capped and lowered several times. It used to be unlimited.
• In the 1990s the city paid into pension, and times were good.
• Actuarial assumptions were at 9% that forced the retirement plan to vest heavily in stocks to meet that target number.
• In 2001, the dot.com crash hit, and the city had to make up for the difference in the losses, which increased the unfunded liability significantly.
• Over the next 3 – 5 years, the assumption rate of the plan was lowered twice to allow the retirement board to re-balance the portfolio into more stable financial instruments. Lowering the assumption rate was a good thing, but the city had to pay for that lowering.
• It is a long-term issue, and there are no quick fixes and it will take approximately 20-25 years to complete the process due for people retiring and getting paid out of the old plan.
Really Jim, isn’t there a better way to pay for this project?
* (Candidate Forum, 03/26/13)