WHY I SUPPORT THE PROPOSED PENSION REFORM
On March 4, 2015, the Phoenix City Council will vote on the Ad Hoc Pension Committee’s recommendation to once again place a measure on the ballot to further reform the City of Phoenix pension plan (COPERS), the third in as many years. I want to assure all of you that ASPTEA has worked closely with the Mayor, members of the City Council, the City Manager’s Office and the Ad Hoc Committee to ensure this recommendation does not impact Tier 1 employees. The recommendation solves some of the largest problems created by the last pension reform, provides relief to the escalating contribution rate that Tier 2 employees face and creates a fair and sustainable pension. It saves the city an additional $2 million dollars annually for the next 20 years on top of the previous reforms and does not risk costly court battles.
This proposal protects defined benefit pensions for future generations. It allows the city to regain the ability to recruit and retain the highest caliber employees so that we can continue to provide the superior service our citizens deserve. These changes also allow the city to regain the ability to compete with other cities, the county and the state for the best, brightest and most dedicated.
This proposal creates a cap on pensionable income at $125,000. All earnings in excess of that amount will earn a 2% DCP contribution. More importantly, that change finally addresses the real pension spiking problems that have made headlines in the past. If adopted, no longer will City Managers be able to take $80,000 bonuses or 30% pay raises at the expense of our pension fund.
While this reform does nothing to address the lion’s share of the pension issue, the state run Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), it does show Phoenix’s commitment to fiscal responsibility as well as its workforce.
The vote to approve this recommendation is scheduled for the March 4th agenda (Item 51). I encourage all of you to call, write or e-mail the Mayor and your City Council member and insist they vote in favor of this proposal.
Additionally, demand that your Mayor and Council take a stand and support Police and Fire in their efforts to obtain similar reforms from the state legislature. The excuse that Phoenix can’t control what is done at the Legislature does not relieve our Council of the duty to try. Until PSPRS is reformed, our best efforts will continue to fall short in addressing the larger problem.
If you have questions, concerns or would like further information, please call or e-mail me.