Wilmington City Council Approves President Gregory's Changes to the City's Pension Revision Process

Posted on  03/07/2013 8:00 pm

Wilmington City Council President Theo Gregory wants the City’s Pension Commission to alter its approach to making recommendations for pension increases affecting the City’s fiscal outlook and be more accountable for those decisions. The Commission, which meets once each year in January, is charged with reviewing the City’s pension programs and making recommendations to the Williams Administration and to City Council as to any changes or revisions to the pension programs for current City employees and retirees.

City Council tonight approved Council President Gregory’s proposal that now requires the Commission—once it makes a recommendation affecting the City’s fiscal position—to hold another meeting within 20 to 30 days of its original recommendation to determine if the City can afford the changes it is recommending. Gregory says previous to this change in the process, the Commission would meet, make a recommendation, and then automatically send its recommendation to the Council for consideration without having to address the affect of its decision on the City’s current and future budgets.

“I fully understand that changes to our City’s pension programs may be appropriate from time to time, but when those revisions affect the City’s General Fund—both short term and long term—then I feel the same group that made the recommendation ought to be responsible for verifying that the City can afford the changes being proposed,” said the Council President.

City Council approved the Council President’s proposal tonight by a vote of 11 to one, with one abstention. The Ordinance was sponsored by the City Council Finance Committee Chair, Charles “Bud” Freel.

Another pension process change specified in Gregory’s proposal clarifies language in the City Code to make it clear that the City Administration is formally responsible for presenting any pension plan changes to the City Council for its consideration.

“We owe it to the citizens who pay taxes and fees to support the City government that we are making decisions regarding pensions for employees and retirees in a fiscally responsible way,” said the Council President.

The City Pension Commission is comprised of 13 members which include the City Treasurer who acts as chairman; the Mayor or the Mayor's authorized designee; two additional appointees of the Mayor; the City Council President or the President's designee; two additional appointees of the City Council President; the President of the FOP Lodge # 1 or the President's designee; the President of the Firefighter Local #1590 or the President's designee; the President of Local # 1102 or the President's designee; the President of Local # 320 or the President's designee; and in even-numbered calendar years, the Presidents of the FOP Lodge #1 and the Firefighter Local # 1590 shall each have one additional appointment. In odd-numbered calendar years, the Presidents of Local #1102 and Local #320 shall each have one additional appointment. The appointees serve during the full calendar year for which they are eligible and appointed.