Cincinnati retirement system

Cincinnati council members spent nearly four hours Tuesday questioning the fund managers and the actuary for the city's pension system.

Some are worried about the fees those managers are charging in relationship to the city's returns on its investments.  Council also wants to make sure those managers are making smart decisions based on current market conditions.  

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has now selected a firm to lead the search for the next city manager.  He said during his weekly press briefing Thursday he met with about seven companies before hiring California-based Ralph Anderson and Associates.  

He said a representative of the search firm will be in town next week to meet with city council members.  

“And help build out a profile for the search,” Cranley said.  “He intends to be out there pounding the pavement looking for candidates at the end of next week or the week after.”

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati Council is ready to endorse a process that would let a federal court mediate a solution to the city's underfunded pension problem.  The Budget and Finance Committee voted unanimously Monday for an ordinance to make that happen.  

The ordinance would let the city manager negotiate a settlement agreement with various parties on a long-term solution to the pension issue.  Right now the retirement system is only 61 percent funded and that will only get worse without some action soon.  

Cincinnati Council's Budget and Finance Committee holds a public hearing Monday on a plan to let a federal judge mediate a solution to the city's pension crisis.  

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati Council could vote next week on an ordinance that would essentially let a federal court mediate a permanent solution to fix the city's currently under-funded pension system.  

Mayor John Cranley introduced the idea Tuesday during a city hall press conference.  

One item up for negotiation could be the compound cost of living adjustments some city retirees now enjoy.  Changing that has been a thorny issue.

A Cincinnati Council member said he had a plan to put the city's retirement system on a path of solvency.  Christopher Smitherman introduced his motion Tuesday during a council committee meeting.

One of his proposals is to end the three percent compound cost-of-living adjustments given to most retirees each year.  Smitherman would change that to a simple COLA tied to the consumer price index and not exceeding two percent per year.  Those adjustments would also be suspended for three years if his plan is approved.

Cincinnati Council could be voting in the next several months on proposals to stabilize the city's underfunded pension system.  Some members said the action needs to happen soon, while others said the problem will not be remedied overnight. 

The Budget and Finance Committee heard about the issue Tuesday. 

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati voters will decide in November if they want to amend the charter to make changes to the city's troubled pension system.  Those could include finding a way to fully fund the current plan in ten years and requiring new employees to be in 401K style plans similar to those offered by many private employers.  

A Cincinnati Council Committee will likely vote Tuesday to place a charter amendment on the November ballot that would change the city's retirement.  

The committee doesn't have a choice since the group behind the effort collected enough valid signatures to get the issue before voters.  

The group trying to revamp the city of Cincinnati's pension system says it's submitted almost 16,000 signatures on petitions to put the charter amendment before voters. It needs more than 7,400 valid signatures to make November's ballot. The board of elections still needs to verify the signatures and certify the issue. 

"This is a common-sense approach," said Burr Robinson with the Cincinnati for Pension Reform ballot committee.  "We can't meet our pension obligations, and the problem only gets worse the longer we stick with this current structure."