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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

City's Pension Commission approves 15 yr payback schedule; Massive parks retirements loom

Today the City's Pension Commission ("LACERS") went against their staff's recommendation and approved a 15 year payback schedule for the Mayor's "Golden Handshakes", aka E-RIP. If you've been following the issue at all, this not only deeply affects the pockets of us taxpayers being that this the most expensive option possible, but it opens the door another inch toward what may be the largest loss of irreplaceable parks experience in the history of the City. The recommendation goes to the City Council next where ball-busting by the mayor coupled with lobbying by every union in town except the Engineers and Architects' union, who was illegally excluded from the deal, will likely guarantee its passage.

With this kind of fiscal responsibility in control of Los Angeles, can City bankruptcy be far behind?  Here's what Ron Kaye has to say on

LACERS Pension Board Approves 15-year Payback for Early Retirement Deal

Setting the stage for a showdown over cutting city spending, the LACERS Board approved the Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) that will cost up to $150,000 each for an estimated 2,400 workers.
The board which oversees funding of pensions and lifetime health benefirts for retirees and more than 22,000 current city workers voted 4-3 Tuesday to overrule its staff recommendation for a 5-year payback period -- the timeframe that the city will realize payroll saviings from the plan. Eric L. Holoman, Moctesuma Esparza, Elizabeth L. Greenwood and Steven Uranga voted for the 15-year payback while Barbara Conroy, Richard Rogers and Ken Spiker voted against it. Holomon, Esparza, Uranga and Conroy were appointed by the mayor while the others were appointed by LACERS members.

The issue now goes to the City Council which faces numerous problems with the ERIP plan offered the Coalition of City Unions. It is likely to face a legal challenge that will delay implementation, will take up to seven months to complete the process if it can be implemented, add to the city deficit and increase what the city owes to LACERS to keep the pension plan financially sound. A joint report from the City Administrative Officer and Chief Legislative Analyst said the .75 percent increase in employee contributions would still leave the city making up the $252 to $475 million the gap in the cost of the ERIP. Spreading the cost over 15 years instead of five will reduce the city's annual payment but extend its impact on city finances and add the the cost of interest payments.

Here's the analysis of the 15-year payback plan by LACERS General Manager Sally Choi and her staff: