To the Editor:
Democrats have led Hamden in the last 23 of 25 years. I believe for the entire 25 year period the pension plan has been an issue with each and every administration. To-date, even in the face of a complete pension meltdown, the Democrats are still studying the issue. Does this sound like leadership to anyone?
Let me give you several examples of what I mean by listing short excerpts from what was reported in the New Haven Register:
1. In a little over three years, the corpus disappears (meaning the pension is depleted)
2. The town needs to keep up funding levels or its bond rating could worsen
3. Future budgets would need to cover the cost of the pension obligation bonds debt service for the full actuarial amount.
4. The Hamden Retirement Board July 2010 report said four years were left in the fund. It recommended a contribution that year of $19 million.
5. The town never fully funded its obligation.
Summarizing the above we see that the town has known about the problem for years. The fund is about to be depleted and the same party that created the problem is struggling to find a solution that has eluded them for nearly 25 years.
The situation is urgent requiring immediate action. So what does this team come up with for a solution - spending more money to study the problem further. Again, does this sound like leadership to anyone?
Here is what I propose. First, anyone who is receiving a pension – no change to the plan. Second, anyone with more than 10 years of service – no change. Finally, anyone with ten years or less of service, keep what you built up, but that is the end of the line for the old pension plan.
Going forward, the existing pension plan is terminated. As a result, the future unfunded liability is substantially diminished. We move to a plan similar to a 401K with matching contributions. The pension plan becomes completely portable and is managed by professionals or by the employee– their choice.
With the above changes you bond what’s left, while simultaneously greatly reducing the town’s future liability. In the end, what remains is a plan the town can afford and taxpayers can pay.
The difference between leadership and the nonsense demonstrated to-date is that discussion must lead to decisive action. So far, we haven’t seen any.
Republican Town Committee chairman