Yet Another Victory for MEA Members and Fee Payers!
- Author: Ann Smith, MEA Attorney
- Published in: E-News
- Date published: 11/16/2007
As you know, the SDCERS Board has conducted two meetings on 10/19 and another this morning for the purpose of hearing comments on what the Board should do, or not do, in regard to purchased service credits which – prior to November 2003 – were allegedly priced on terms more favorable to the purchaser than should have occurred. Among other possible actions, the Board intended to discuss whether it should unilaterally reset the value of the service credits to a lower number of years based on what was paid versus what arguably should have been paid, or whether it should file a declaratory relief action to seek a court determination on the legality of the service credits purchased.
At the October 19, 2007, special meeting, a number of active City employees and retirees addressed the Board with their own personal stories and concerns and urged the Board to abide by the contracts they had signed based on pricing the Board had done for them and on which they had relied in making the financial decision to purchase service credits.
On behalf of all MEA-represented employees, I made a 15-minute presentation to the Board urging that they take no action adverse to plan participants on this issue and that they honor the service credits purchased.
This morning, other active employees and retirees added their voices to those who had spoken on October 19th – including MEA’s elected Secretary and long-time MEA leader Leslie Simmons – a 16-year City employee/Librarian.
The Board recessed into a closed session and more than a hour later reported out that it had voted unanimously eight (8) to zero to continue to honor the service credits purchased prior to November 2003 – and to continue to amortize the unfunded actuarially accrued liability (UAAL) associated with these purchases as it does all other UAAL when preparing the annual bill to the City as plan sponsor -- and take no further action. [Only eight SDCERS Board Members participated in the discussion and decision-making on this issue despite the fact that the SDCERS Board has twelve members because Board Members Steve Meyer, Franklin Lamberth, Mark Sullivan and John Thomson all excused themselves from any role in the matter since they had each purchased service credits.]
Needless to say, for those in attendance – just as will be true for each of you reading this news – the Board’s announcement brought much-needed and much-deserved relief.
After more than two years of uncertainty caused by Mr. Aguirre’s irresponsible and meritless litigation against employees’ and retirees’ pension benefits, having yet another round of uncertainty as to this aspect of your pension benefits was, of course, distressing. BUT – the result is welcome news and another victory for this City’s hard-working employees, active and retired. Best regards, Ann Smith