Proposed pension reforms
To the Editor:
Warwick absolutely needs pension reform! In my mayoral campaign of 2016 I outlined “Part 1” which included voluntary buyouts that saved Texas almost a billion dollars. Warwick would be wise to copy that win-win idea. What follows is “Part 2.”
New Pension Protection
In order to keep the Warwick Pension fund solvent, I propose that legislation be enacted that does not allow for any new Warwick employee to receive a pension that is greater than 80 percent of his/her highest annual salary. Cost of living adjustments (COLA’s) should be based on the new pay grade of each position. In other words, if the average clerk in the library received a four percent raise or a four percent pay cut, the retiree would receive the same percentage of COLA. COLA’s were introduced by Social Security decades ago as a cost-of-living-adjustment, not a cost-of-living-increase.
Also, any new employee should receive taxpayer-paid health benefits for that employee alone, with the option to have family coverage at the employees total cost.
Starting salaries for new employees should also be adjusted higher or lower to meet the current employment market.
Finally, anyone who receives a retirement pension due to an injury, should be medically re-evaluated every year to determine if the injury continues to prevent the employee from working.
If we take these, and other, preventative steps, Warwick can protect our employees and retirees from decisions like the State of Rhode Island made about state employees. Their pensions were unfairly and irreversibly slashed. When the fund is out of money, there isn’t any other solution.
Warwick needs pension reform…while there is still time.