Inside This Issue
–Understanding Your CalPERS Update
Join us for our monthly snack talk to participate in the discussion.
Upcoming Snack Talks:
Thursday April 11th
12:00pm – 1:00pm
By: Tye Gillespie, CCEA President
For almost 6 years I have been privileged to serve as president of the Carlsbad City Employees Association. As we near the end of my 3rd term I am mindful of two things. First, we have weathered some significant challenges and have demonstrated our resilience and ability to resolve tough issues. Second, it is time for me to move on.
Whether it was Baker Tiley or Pay for Performance or outsourcing the IT help desk, CCEA employees did their part to advocate for one another as well as collaborate with the city. In the end, Baker Tiley was discontinued, Pay for Performance was replaced with employee engagement and the IT help desk was brought completely in-house. No CCEA members lost their jobs because of these initiatives. Additionally, we now have a contract ensuring that our members’ compensation will be in the top 1/3rd for the county.
Of course there is more work to be done, but I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish during some tough times. I am confident that our members will continue to step up and do what is required to continue these important efforts. Further, I am encouraged by some of the city’s new leadership. The new council, city manager and HR director, to name a few, have been very supportive of CCEA members.
I would not trade my time on the CCEA board and as president for anything. I have learned so much about the city as a whole and the members of the CCEA. I have forged some strong relationships while working on thorny issues that really matter to people. I will miss it. But it is time for me to focus my time and energy on other things that I am also passionate about. My last day as president will be September 1.
In August, the CCEA will be holding elections for several board positions (see list below), please consider running. I will be working over the next several months to help make the transition as smooth as possible. I will also be available to help in whatever way I can after my successor takes office.
2019 Board Elections:
- Community & Economic Development
- Housing & Neighborhood Services, Policy & Leadership and Safety
- Management Property and Environmental
Understanding Your CalPERS Retirement System Update
By: Jim Cunningham, General Counsel, Cunningham & McLean APC
During the Great Depression in 1932 California voters voted to implement a defined benefit retirement system for state employees. The system would guarantee that a certain percent-age of the employees income would be paid out after they reached a determined age and years of service. That system was called the State Employees Retirement System (SERS).In 1939 the state legislature passed a bill that allowed counties, cities and school district to participate and SERS. In 1992 the name of the retirement system was changed to the California Public Employees Retirement System ( CalPERS ). The City of Carlsbad is a member of CalPERSs.
The pension fund currently serves more than 1.8 members in the CalPERS Retirement System making it the largest defined-benefit public pensions in the United States.The current fund has a market value of $303 billion. CalPERS is overseen by a 13 member Board of Administration whose members are elected, appointed, or are ex-officio’s such as the State Treasurer, State Controller, and other elected officials.
The pension fund has three sources of revenue from which the retirees pensions are paid. Investment Returns, Employee Contributions and Employer Contributions.
First, are the investment returns from moneys invested by the CalPERS Board. Initially the retirement system was only allowed to invest in bonds as a means of providing funding for the pension system. Over the years through legislative actions the investments were opened up to real estate investments and equities, (stocks), and other investments. The Board has adopted an investment policy that limits itself from investing in politically sensitive stocks such a tobacco companies, certain foreign investments, and other otherwise profitable investments. It has been determined by actuarials over the years that the investments must return a minimum percentage to provide their part of the funding towards the pensions.The last two terms the investment returns have exceed 10% which will gave an impact on future rate adjustments.
CCEA employees are in the miscellaneous retirement plan. Carlsbad may see an increase in their current unfunded accrued liability payments. Unfunded liabilities are somewhat synonymous to your homes mortgage. If you owe $100,000 on your mortgage today than your unfunded liability for your home would be $100,000. That would be the amount necessary to pay off the entire mortgage. The unfunded liability is the amount necessary to pay off all obligations into the future for every employee who could potentially retire from the city. The payments made to amortize unfunded liabilities are made over a 20 year period to bring the fund to being fully funded.
The second source of revenue for the pension system are member contributions. CalPERS members contribute a percentage of their salary throughout their active membership. The contribution rates are set by statute and by benefit formula. Contributions and benefits can only be changed based upon changes in the law or the Courts interpretation of that law. Most recently the rate of a member’s contribution and retirement formula was changed to a new Tier in January 2013. All employees hired after that date make the full employee contribution and retire at a lower percentage then employees who were hired before January 1, 2013. That was apparently done in an effort to reduce the unfunded liability and maintain the viability of the pension fund. For employees hired before January 1, 2013 their member contributions can only be changed through negotiations. CCEA members all are already paying they are full share of member contributions.
The third source of revenue are the employer contributions. The employer’s contributions can vary based upon the investment returns from CalPERS investments. If the investment re-turns from CalPERS are below expectations the employers contribution would be impacted on the third fiscal year that fol-lows that investment return. CalPERS earnings and losses are averaged over a 15 year period to prevent extreme changes in employer contribution rates. The fund at one time had returned such great returns on investment that the retirement fund was fully funded which resulted in employers making no payments towards there employer contributions. That was called “Super-funding”, accordingly, while the employees contributions are for the most part set by statute the employ-er’s contributions will vary depending upon investment returns in the future. The last two years the investment returns have exceeded 10% which is a good sign for future employer contribution. Employees hired after 1/01/2013 now, however, will share in the employers increased cost with certain maximums.
In addition to a Defined Benefit Plan CalPERS also provides disability retirement for work related and non-work related injuries that result in your inability to do your job. As well as death benefits for your beneficiaries.
For more information or to plan for your retirement log onto https://www.calpers.ca.gov.
CCEA Board Members
Tye Gillespie President
Hallie Thompson Vice President
Marie Ashe-Nutter Treasurer
Mayra Turchiano Secretary
Allison Dietrich CED
Terry Ennis Public Works: Transportation
Daisy Hernandez Public Works: GFE
Tom Vega Public Works: Utilities
Allen Edwards Housing & Neighborhood Services, Policy & Leadership, and Safety
Eric Smith Parks
Rosario Aranda HR, IT, and Finance
Bonnie Crane -Sullivan Library & Recreation
Tammy McMinn At-Large
Mike Fairbanks 04/03/1989 30
Lizeth Simonson 04/01/1991 28
Cecelia Fernandez 04/24/2000 19
Daniel Johnson 04/11/2002 17
Dianna Galindo 04/19/2004 15
Elzbieta Karczewski 04/21/2003 16
Paul Harrison 04/30/2004 15
Terry Ennis 04/10/2006 13
Mary Collins 04/24/2006 13
Rachael Shay 04/24/2006 13
Aaron Pearce 04/02/2007 12
Chris Garcia 04/02/2007 12
Christopher Glassen 04/14/2008 11
Michael Espudo 04/05/2010 9
Dale Willis 04/01/2013 6
Darlene Tovar 04/08/2013 6
Vanessa Abarca 04/07/2014 5
Sara Kelly 04/07/2014 5
Jeanette Brown 04/21/2014 5
Andy Krogh 04/17/2015 4
Nick De Letto 04/25/2018 1
Melanie Saucier 04/30/2018 1