City, AUSD Pensions Slim Down

Future police and firefighters, teachers and other city and schools employees will receive fewer benefits and retire later than those working at city hall and in Alameda's schools now under new pension rules approved by Gov. Jerry Brown.

A city pension task force is set to report on Alameda's retirement benefit liabilities and possible solutions to address them on Oct.

30. The city's future non-safety workers won't qualify for their full pension until age 62, while its current workers will continue to get that benefit at 55. City leaders had planned to negotiate with nonsafety workers for a two-tiered plan that would see future workers retiring at 60.

Teachers now qualify for a full pension at age 63, but those hired in 2013 and beyond will have to wait until they are 65 to receive the same pension. Some 80 percent of the state's teachers retire before that, according to CalSTRS' analysis, with the class of 2010-2011's retirees earning a pension that averaged 56 percent of their highest year's pay.

Here's a quick breakdown of the existing city and school district pension plans and the new ones that will go into effect for employees hired after January 1, 2013.

• Public safety: Current police and firefighters can retire at age 50 with 3 percent of their top salaries for each year served. New hires will be able to retire with 2 percent of a salary equal to the average of their three top years at age 50, or 2.7 percent at age 57. All safety employees will be required to pay half the cost of their pensions, up to a cap of 12 percent of their salaries; they now pay 11 percent of their salaries, while the city paid 37 percent of each employee's salary toward their pension in 2011.

• Non-safety: Current city employees get 2 percent of their top salary for each year served at age 55. New hires would get that same amount at age 62, based on an average of three years' worth of top salaries; city leaders had sought to raise new non-safety employees' retirement age to 60. All non-safety employees will be required to pay half the cost of their pensions, up to a cap of 8 percent of their salaries; they agreed in June to pay 8.868 percent of their salaries toward their pensions, while the city in 2011 paid 15 percent.

• Teachers: Teachers now employed by AUSD get 2.4 percent of their salaries at age 63, with credit for years served. New hires would get that same benefit at age 65, with the credit for time served reduced and pension pay based on teachers' top three years of pay. All of Alameda's teachers will be required to pay half the cost of their pension, with a cap of 8 percent of their salaries, something they already essentially do.

According to CalSTRS, school districts pay 8.25 percent of each teachers' salary toward their pensions, while teachers contribute 8 percent.

Read more at www.thealamedan.org

 

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