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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pension Fund Investigation

Posted by Lou on April 29, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

Today is the last day to donate to Ted Siedle’s crowdfunding of an investigation into the pension fund. Although it has just reached fully funded, Kickstarter takes 10% of the total amount raised. I’ve spent significant time talking to Mr. Siedle over the last 2 days, and he seems like a good and decent person who really wants to help Rhode Islanders get to the bottom of why there are such significant issues with our pension fund. So please, if you are able, donate whatever you can afford to this investigation before 5pm today!

Thanks!

General Membership Meeting

Posted by Lou on April 22, 2015

Hello all,

Apologies for the short notice, but we will be having a General Membership meeting on Monday, April 27 at 4:20pm in the 3rd floor cafeteria of 235 Promenade Street in Providence. Please make every effort to attend. The agenda includes a legislative update from Jim Cenerini, a discussion of Ted Siedle’s pension investigation crowdfunding effort, and an update about the pension settlement.

Thanks!

Pension settlement update

Posted by Lou on April 21, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

It looks like Judge Taft-Carter has given the preliminary OK to moving towards resolution with the pension settlement.

Notices will be going out offering those participating in the class-action suit the opportunity to speak at the Fairness Hearing scheduled to begin on May 20. However, you must notify the court by May 15 if you would like to speak at the hearing.

Thanks!

A new investigation of the pension fund

Posted by Lou on April 10, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

As you may have heard, Ted Siedle has created a crowd funding campaign to raise funds to investigate the state employees’ pension fund. If Mr. Siedle’s effort raises $20,000 before April 29, he will conduct a follow up to his previous forensic investigation, funded by Council 94.

When I inquired about the focus of the investigation with Mr. Siedle, he stated the following:

This investigation will be based upon the most current information and focus upon hidden and excessive investment fees; the cost of any investment underperformance; conflicts of interest and wrongdoing. It will be a follow-up on the prior investigation, updating on past issues but we will also examine any new issues which arise. As before, there will likely be some discussion of actuarial issues and assumptions.

Now is your chance to have a direct impact in proving that is the mismanagement of the pension fund that led us to the underfunded condition it is in. It certainly isn’t our fault, because I know that we’ve contributed 8.75% of our pay everyday, without fail. Meanwhile, partners of past treasurers and hedge fund managers get rich off the excessive fees being paid with our money. Visit the Kickstarter page and donate whatever amount you are able towards getting the answers we deserve.

Thanks
Lou

Ever wonder why the pension system is underfunded?

Posted by Lou on March 26, 2015

I know I wonder why the pension system is underfunded. Sometimes, it’s because the fees being paid to the Governor’s former investment firm is being paid the highest fees of any other hedge fund manager in the state. Sometimes it’s because the Governor doesn’t want to deposit the surplus that she is legally required to. “Legally?” you say? Yes, it was a law she endorsed as treasurer, in an effort to increase the funding ratio as soon as possible.

I know one reason why it isn’t underfunded: state workers have paid their required percentage from every paycheck they have ever earned. Make sure you let your state representatives and senators know that fact when they try to steal from us again.

Retirement system website

Posted by Lou on March 25, 2015

As promised during today’s meeting, the website to view your retirement benefit estimates is https://www.ersri.org/home.jsp. You can create an account with your personal information, and review your service time, contributions, estimated retirement date, etc.

We are still working on getting any financial/actuarial data, as promised by Lynn Loveday, from Council 94.

Thanks,
Lou

Pension settlement questions?

Posted by Lou on March 23, 2015

Hello brothers and sisters,

In advance of the pension settlement meeting, we would like to solicit questions for Justice Frank Williams, who will be in attendance at the meeting. If you would like to submit a question, please send it to louis.maccarone@local2881.org or leave a comment on this post using the link below. We will aggregate the questions and submit them in advance in hopes that we will get better answers. We welcome any and all questions, so please feel free to submit any question you have.

Thanks,
Lou

Pension calculator

Posted by Lou on

Brothers and sisters,

In the midst of the maelstrom that is our pension saga, Paul and I finally got a chance to do something that we should have done long ago. We can now answer the question: “How long will my contributions to the pension system last me in retirement, even if the state didn’t contribute a dime to me?” The answer might surprise you (hint: it’s longer than you think).

Go to Local 2881 pension calculator, download a copy of the file, and play around with the inputs to match your scenario. The model allows you to input assumptions for:

  • Yearly raises (i.e. raises associated with contracts)
  • Starting salary
  • Years of service
  • Whether or not you get longevity increases
  • COLA percentages
  • Whether the COLA applies to your whole pension benefit, or a portion of it
  • Return on investment over the life of your money

The accrual schedule follows Schedule B (the 2005 pension changes). If you are not on Schedule B, or have accrued at another rate, you can input your own accrual in Column I of the “SalaryAccrual” sheet.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment below.

Thanks
Lou