Do we need a City Administrator or is it just an expensive ruse?

The story is as old as any in local government history. As the city staggers under the largest debt they have ever incurred at 61.8 million dollars, (see Moody’s Report City of GR on this page), with expenditures close to 22 million dollars per year and fees and charges for services at near or exceeding 5 million dollars, equaling what will be collected this year in property taxes. Your total city taxes have doubled as another city administrator flees the scene. This current chain of events should not come as any great surprise.

The City of Grand Rapids has become bloated with personnel for a city anywhere near it’s size.  Did this happen as a pathway to better services or for political clout and financial reward of the participants?

When these folks come out of today’s higher education institutions they are well educated in civics, controlled statistical analysis, political science and media manipulation. There is no mistaking government in this country is big business and those that participate are making bundles while you get left with the bill. Take time to examine the file on this page marked, (City and County Retirees amounts on this page), and take note of the monthly retirement amounts that your local government retirees receive. Add to this amount their Social Security benefits, health insurance, dental and life plans. Now you’re wondering why you have all these fees and charges and property taxes while your mayor spends a large part of his day playing cards at the club house you built for him! Free golf for city employees under wellness care, as it was spun to the public, are you kidding? This does not qualify under wellness care so I can only assume it was done to buy votes. That is the issue at what price and what method do we buy votes, ah the true job of the city administrator.

These administrators have no statutory authority in Minnesota law, rather are most likely an invention of the League of Mn. Cities to circumvent going to the electorate and letting the people vote on whether or not they want a managerial form of government or a city clerk, city council, weak mayor form of government, This is in fact what we have in place in Grand Rapids at present.  If the city council and mayor are so weak, so lazy, that they need someone to do their job, they should follow the correct path under the law and go to the voters and ask them do you want the present mayor council system or a managerial form of government. This contrived name “city administrator” should be called what it is, “paid spin artist with no statutory authority,” hired to allow the city council and mayor shed the obligations of their office while promoting their various agendas.

It’s time to ask the voters if they want a city manager form of governance or not.  If yes, fine, if not, have the city council and mayor get back to work. That’s what you’re paying these folks for, not to be prom queens looking good at the clubhouse.

Minnesota’s retirement plans

Pioneer Press
Posted:   01/19/2013 09:34:23 PM CST
Updated:   01/21/2013 09:15:06 AM CST

 

Key details from fiscal 2012 valuations of Minnesota’s public pension plans. Complete valuation reports are available at lcpr.leg.mn.

MINNESOTA STATE RETIREMENT SYSTEM PLANS

GENERAL

Members: 101,672

Benefits paid: $552 million

Unfunded liability: $1.9 billion

Funded ratio: 83 percent

Deficiency: 2.3 percent

Legislative proposal: None

CORRECTIONS

Members: 8,126

Benefits paid: $42.5 million

Unfunded liability: $304 million

Funded ratio: 69 percent

Deficiency: 4.6 percent

Legislative proposal: None

STATE PATROL/PUBLIC SAFETY

Members: 1,841

Benefits paid: $50 million

Unfunded liability: $206 million

Funded ratio: 73 percent

Deficiency: 11.5 percent

Legislative proposal: Increase employee contributions by 2 percentage points, employer contributions by 3 percentage points, phased in over three years. Reduce cost-of-living increases for retirees from 1.5 percent to 1 percent until fund reaches 85 percent funded. Increase early retirement penalties.

JUDGES

Members: 639

Benefits paid: $18.5 million

Unfunded liability: $137 million

Funded ratio: 51 percent

Deficiency: 13.5 percent

Legislative proposal: Increase employee contributions by 1 percentage point, employer contribution by 2 percentage

points. Lower benefit formula for new hires. Reduce cost-of-living increases for retirees from 2 percent to 1.75 percent until the plan reaches 70 percent funded.

Note: This plan was not pre-funded with employee/employer contributions until 1991.

LEGISLATORS

Members: 476

Benefits paid: $7.9 million

Unfunded liability: $232 million

Funded ratio: 6.3%

Deficiency: N/A

Legislative proposal: None

Note: Funded by annual appropriations from state’s general fund, but the $4.1 million paid in fiscal 2012 was not enough to cover even the total benefit payments, let alone existing debt.

ELECTIVE STATE OFFICERS

Members: 15

Benefits paid: $492,000

Unfunded liability: $8.9 million

Funded ratio: N/A

Deficiency: N/A

Legislative proposal: None

Note: Funded by annual appropriations from the state’s general fund approximately equal to the amount of annual benefit payments, but not enough to pay down existing debt.

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT ASSOCIATION PLANS

GENERAL

Members: 374,506

Benefits paid: $1 billion

Unfunded liability: $4.9 billion

Funded ratio: 73 percent

Deficiency: 0.96 percent

Legislative proposal: None

POLICE & FIRE

Members: 22,545

Benefits paid: $386 million

Unfunded liability: $1.6 billion

Funded ratio: 78 percent

Deficiency: 7.9 percent

Legislative proposal: Increase employee contributions from 9.6 percent to 10.8 percent over two years; increase employer contributions from 14.4 percent to 16.2 percent over two years. Increase early retirement penalty from 1.2 percent to 5 percent per year, phased in over five years. Reduce cost-of-living increases for retirees from 1.5 percent to 1 percent and delay first increase for new retirees for two years. For new hires, cap initial benefits at 99 percent of average salary and change vesting schedule.

LOCAL CORRECTIONAL WORKERS

Members: 7,885

Benefits paid: $4.8 million

Unfunded liability: $36 million

Funded ratio: 89 percent

Deficiency: None (0.13 percent sufficient)

Legislative proposal: None

Note: Relatively new plan with an unusually high ratio (5:1) of active workers to retirees.

MINNEAPOLIS EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT FUND

Members: 4,204

Benefits paid: $140 million

Unfunded liability: $377 million

Funded ratio: 69 percent

Deficiency: None (288 percent sufficient)

Legislative proposal: None

Note: Closed to new members in 1979. In the early 1990s, the executive director was accused of bad investments and other improprieties. State appropriates $10 million annually and Minneapolis kicks in $12 million above its normal contributions to keep fund solvent. When fund reaches 80 percent funded ratio, it will be merged into the PERA general plan.

TEACHER PLANS

TEACHERS RETIREMENT ASSOCIATION

Members: 171,866

Benefits paid: $1.5 billion

Unfunded liability: $6.2 billion

Funded ratio: 73 percent

Deficiency: 5 percent

Legislative proposal: None

DULUTH TEACHERS RETIREMENT FUND

Members: 3,355

Benefits paid: $24.8 million

Unfunded liability: $119 million

Funded ratio: 63 percent

Deficiency: 8.5 percent

Legislative proposal: None

ST. PAUL TEACHERS RETIREMENT FUND

Members: 10,432

Benefits paid: $102 million

Unfunded liability: $559 million

Funded ratio: 62 percent

Deficiency: 6.4 percent

Legislative proposal: None