Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., March 8
Pension Costs Reach 69% of City Payroll, Says DeMaio
Councilmember Carl DeMaio says that the City's annual pension payments have zoomed to more than $231 million or an astounding 42% of City payroll. "When factoring in the cost of all city retirement benefits, taxpayers are servicing a cost of more than $370 million annually, or a staggering 69% of City payroll," says DeMaio in a statement on his website that will be printed in the Transcript tomorrow (Jan. 20). In his State of the City speech Jan. 13, Mayor Jerry Sanders heaped scorn on those who advocate "pinning our hopes on pension take-backs that courts have said are illegal." But DeMaio says the City can reduce pension costs "through reforms that achieve actuarial savings (managed competition, salary freezes, reductions-in-force, etc.) and achieving savings in other parts of employee compensation to pay down accrued pension liabilities (increasing employee contributions, eliminating supplemental pension contributions, etc.)." The City has been picking up a share of employees' pension contributions; giving supplemental pension contributions to some employees, and giving terminal leave benefits by which employees keep accruing service benefits after they retire. All these should be reformed, along with the notorious double-dipping Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP).