Rawlings-Blake seeks to switch new employees from pensions to 401(k)-style plans

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake today plans to introduce legislation to switch new city employees from the a traditional pension system to a 401(k)-style plan. 

By implementing the switch, the city expects to save $1 million in fiscal year 2014, with increased savings each year until 2022, when city officials say they will save $7.8 million.

Under the proposal, new city employees would be required to contribute 5 percent of their salaries to their retirement accounts, with the city contributing an additional 4 percent. New employees would have the option of contributing an additional 2 percent, which would cause the city to contribute an additional 1 percent, according to the plan.

The legislation, which must be approved by the City Council, does not apply to current employees, elected officials or members of the city's police or fire department.

The pension system for municipal employees faces $681 million in unfunded liabilities, according to city documents. Fully funded in 2003, the system has weakened each year and is now only 67 percent funded.

The legislation is the latest move by Rawlings-Blake to overhaul the city's various pension systems. Last month, the council passed an administration bill that requires current city workers to start contributing part of their salaries to their pension fund.

That bill requires non-public safety workers to contribute 1 percent of their salaries to the pension fund next fiscal year, and increase those contributions each year for five years until workers contribute 5 percent.

Also on Monday's agenda, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young plans to introduce a bill to increase the fees charged to registered city lobbyists from $20 to $100. The legislation brings the costs in line with those charged by the state, said Young's spokesman, Lester Davis.

The council is also expected to grant preliminary approval to a weakened bill that aimed to better regulate the so-called convenience fees added on to tickets sold at concerts and sporting events. Ticketmaster and other ticket sellers could add unlimited fees to the price of admission for concerts and sporting events under the amended legislation.




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