Pendleton County judge-executive would like to see a more deliberate approach to fixing pension crisis

11/27/2017 05:35 PM

FALMOUTH – The second biggest question local government officials have right after when a potential special session to address pensions will be called, is how much the proposed changes will cost local governments.

Like many judge-executives and mayors, Pendleton County Judge-Executive David Fields is concerned about the hit his county will take in additional pension costs should Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension reform proposal become law.

“We’re going to be looking at $230,000 increase yearly for our employees, and it’s not something that we can come up with overnight” Fields said. “We’re really going to have to dig down deep and make some changes, make some cuts in different departments.”

Fields is concerned that the governor and lawmakers will rush through a plan in a special session which might not be the best solution. He would like to see more thought going into the process of passing a pension reform plan, not during a special session, but during the first week of the 2018 regular session.

“I commend a lot of legislators in taking that time and going back and saying let’s take a look at this a little more in depth, and I think it’s a smart move,” Fields said. “We don’t have to have that special session; we can have all of this discussion and get everything in place where they can pass it when they first go into session.”

Fields believes that one way to make things right is to separate the better funded County Employees Retirement System from the Kentucky Employees Retirement System.

“I’ve always liked the idea of separating the CERS from the rest of them because we had pretty good funding,” Fields said.

If the proposed plan is not changed, Fields is concerned that the additional costs could potentially bankrupt a number of cities, counties and school systems.


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