It will be about six months before the town gets a report on how best to handle the pension fund crisis.
The Legislative Council's Pension and Retirement Committee approved a bid waiver Wednesday for the Segal Company to act as a Pension Fund Plan Design Consultant and report on the town's options for handling the deficit in the pension fund that some say tops $300,000.
If the full council approves it Monday, Segal will start work on the report by July 1, Chief Administrative Officer Curt Balzano Leng said, and should take about six months to complete.
"Assuming it's approved in this cycle, they will start the work in the new fiscal year and complete it in about six months," he told the council. They will get "every bit of information" on every aspect of the situation, he said, and present options that could include pension obligation bonds.
"This is our top priority for the fiscal year," Leng said.
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Councilwoman Carol Noble said she wants to see action from the town upon completion of the study.
"If six months is Segal's deadline, when we see the report the town's administration should form some sort of committee that includes the unions and the council so we can see what kind of action to take," she said, noting that it's likely it will be right before the next budget season when the report is issued.
"The mayor is already starting discussions with the unions about pension issues," Leng said. "Without the unions being partners in the solution, a comprehensive solution can't be reached."
Councilman Austin Cesare questioned why the council was again being asked to approve another bid waiver.
"I hope you are being very diligent and getting the best price and the best deal," he said.
"If ever there was an opportunity for a bid waiver, this is it," said Councilman Jack Kennelly. "This is long overdue and the consultants are finally coming together to come up with a plan."
"We have used Segal before and they have already gotten their feet wet to a degree," said Councilman Al Gorman. "Going out to bid all the time does not necessarily bring the best service."