Cincinnati Council Likely To Vote On Pension Changes

Oct 24, 2016

Cincinnati council will likely vote this week to incorporate some of the key components of the pension settlement agreement into municipal code.  

A federal court approved the plan last October, and it took effect January 1st.  

At least a couple of people wanted city council to wait before acting.  

Tom Gamble is a retiree, who was involved in litigation against the city.  He is also a member of city's retirement board.

"A lot of this stuff should have been done months ago," Gamble said. "And we're afraid if this gets approved today, those other changes may take a long time to occur."

Some of those concerns center around the role of the retirement board going forward.  A city attorney said those concerns can be addressed in the city's administrative code, not the municipal code.

The changes to the city's retirement system ordinance include:

  • Clarifies and adds definitions, and creates consistency in the use of these terms throughout the chapter
  • Removes references to previously repealed sections, and eliminates obsolete provisions
  • Includes changes to align CSA benefits structures with existing member group structures

A team of city lawyers has spent almost a year trying to update Cincinnati's municipal code to match up with provisions of the federal court settlement.

Council member Christopher Smitherman said delaying action on the updates would make little difference.

"What is before us has really been dictated a lot by an agreement and signed off by a federal judge," Smitherman said. "It's not going to change dramatically over the next two weeks."

For now the settlement has improved the pension system's bottom line.  

As of December 31, 2015, it was 77 percent funded compared to 64 percent a year earlier.  But that is largely because excess funds in the health care trust fund were moved to the pension side as part of the agreement.