pension 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.  

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The City of Cincinnati has reached a deal with the unions of current employees and with retirees over the pension fund.  Unfunded liability in that account had been estimated at $862 million, according to a release from the city.  But now, Mayor John Cranley says the settlement reached late Tuesday night will mean the pension system will be fully funded.

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.

Approximately 3,000 Cincinnati voters who have already been mailed absentee ballots will be getting a second one in the mail soon, thanks to an Ohio Supreme Court decision last week.

They'll also be getting a letter from the Hamilton County Board of Elections asking them to re-vote their new absentee ballots and return them to the board.

It's all because the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the board to restore sections of Issue 4, the charter amendment that would change the city of Cincinnati's pension system. The pro-Issue 4 committee had gone to court to force the change.

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 group trying to revamp Cincinnati’s troubled pension system through a charter amendment paid a California firm nearly $70,000 to put petition circulators out on the streets of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati for Pension Reform, a group that includes some long-time tea party activists, says it collected nearly 16,000 signatures, which are now being checked by the Hamilton County Board of Elections. They need the valid signatures of 7,443 Cincinnati voters to put the issue on the November ballot.

Jay Hanselman

Update 6/5/2013 at 10:20 am:  Documents received from the city show the pension system's unfunded actuarial accrued liability as of 12/31/2012 was $862,122,656.  That compares with the unfunded actuarial accrued liability as of 12/31/2011 of $728,428,380.  That means the unfunded balance increased by more than $133 million during that time.

One section of the report states: