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OPINION
By TIM ROWLAND | timr@herald-mail.com | August 5, 2012
Somewhere, Del. Andy Serafini is coming to life. He does this - he has earned that right - every time there is more bad news about the Maryland pension fund. And there was bad news again this week, following reports that the fund had earned a meager 0.36 percent return in fiscal 2012, when the state had been counting on 7.75 percent. And don't bother with any jokes about buying Facebook stock, because the state reported that it was done in by its “international investments.” Oh no. Please don't tell me Maryland was long on ouzo.
NEWS
January 14, 1997
By JULIE E. GREENE Staff Writer Hagerstown taxpayers could face diminished services or property tax increases in July because of a $9.96 million debt the city owes to the state of Maryland's pension system, officials said Tuesday. A visibly angry Mayor Steven T. Sager, his speech peppered with four-letter words, asked a Maryland State Retirement Agency official on Tuesday afternoon why the city owes at least $9.96 million to the state when the city has made all required payments to the pension fund.
NEWS
By STEVEN T. DENNIS | February 18, 1998
Market gains boost county pension fund Washington County's pension fund managed by INVESCO earned $5.4 million last year, riding a stock market surge. A 24.8 percent investment gain helped propel the county's pension fund to $27.8 million on Dec. 31, 1997, said portfolio manager Mike Harhai. The fund has risen another $1 million since the beginning of the year, he said. The county's portfolio is 71 percent invested in stocks and 29 percent in bonds and other securities.
NEWS
August 6, 1997
By STEVEN T. DENNIS Staff Writer INVESCO Capital Management Inc., the company that arranged for three top county officials to attend the exclusive Masters golf championship, will continue to manage the county's $22 million pension fund until a new contract is awarded, County Purchasing Agent Karen Luther said Tuesday. Luther said she hoped to have a new contract awarded at the Aug. 26 meeting of the Washington County Commissioners. Luther said it is not uncommon for contractors to provide services after the contract has ended.
NEWS
BY RICHARD F. BELISLE | April 25, 2002
waynesboro@herald-mail.com A bill passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature will reduce significantly the amounts local school districts must pay into the state retirement fund. As a result, area school districts might not have to raise taxes as much as they had predicted earlier this month. School districts across Pennsylvania, including those in Franklin County, had said they expected to need large tax increases to cover their contributions to the state pension fund. In some cases the contribution was expected to go up by hundreds of thousands of dollars, local school officials have said.
NEWS
By BRENDAN KIRBY | July 16, 1998
Washington County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers said Wednesday he does not want County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop and Human Resources Director Alan J. Davis to play a role in the search for a company to manage the county's $31 million pension fund. The commissioners voted on Tuesday to cancel the last two years of a three-year contract with INVESCO Capital Management Inc. and seek new proposals. INVESCO arranged for Shoop, Davis and Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook to attend the prestigious Masters golf championship last year.
NEWS
By DON AINES | December 16, 2008
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Despite Franklin County's pension fund losing millions of dollars this fall, the approximately 240 retired county employees will be receiving a 2.98 percent cost-of-living increase in 2009. The Retirement Board voted 3-2 on Tuesday to give an increase based on 85 percent of the increase in the consumer price index (CPI). County Commissioners Bob Thomas, Bob Ziobrowski and David Keller voted for the increase, with Treasurer David Secor and Controller Carol Diller casting the dissenting votes.
NEWS
December 27, 2001
Pension change could cost districts By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro WAYNESBORO, Pa. - When the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a bill in May raising the pensions for retired teachers, it didn't appropriate money for local school boards to pay for the increase. In the case of the Waynesboro Area School District, the move may cost taxpayers another 2 mills in their tax rates next year, said Jack Kennedy, the district's financial officer. The district's annual contribution to the pension fund could go from $90,000 this fiscal year to $460,000 next year, Schools Superintendent Barry L. Dallara said.
NEWS
July 20, 2010
Teacher played big role in Doub's ballet career To the editor: I greatly appreciate the story that was printed recently about my daughter, Rachel Doub , and her rise to become a professional ballerina. There was one very important piece of information that was omitted from the story. She was trained by Carolou Brown Fiery Russell at the Hagerstown School of Ballet and the Antietam Ballet Theatre for her first 11 years. Mrs. Russell is a true gem of Hagerstown.
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OPINION
By LARRY WELLBORN | March 23, 2013
The Postal Service has been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason. The Postal Service has lost billions of dollars while losing market share to electronic forms of communication. But this is not entirely the fault of the Post Office or the Internet. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), a bill that was supposed to help the Post Office compete with private delivery services and be more responsive to public needs.  Unfortunately, many provisions in the bill have been the source of the problems the Postal Service is now facing.
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OPINION
By TIM ROWLAND | timr@herald-mail.com | August 5, 2012
Somewhere, Del. Andy Serafini is coming to life. He does this - he has earned that right - every time there is more bad news about the Maryland pension fund. And there was bad news again this week, following reports that the fund had earned a meager 0.36 percent return in fiscal 2012, when the state had been counting on 7.75 percent. And don't bother with any jokes about buying Facebook stock, because the state reported that it was done in by its “international investments.” Oh no. Please don't tell me Maryland was long on ouzo.
OPINION
February 12, 2012
Romney has GOP voters hooked like fish To the editor: Now let me get this straight. People are voting for Mitt because he's the best chance to beat the president in November. Really? He doesn't reflect GOP's views and disagrees on most of their beliefs. It's on the record what Mitt thought of women's choice, gay rights, Social Security and real tea party beliefs as recently at 2010. He's changed his views in 1 1/2 years? I think not; he's telling you what you want to hear because he realizes this is his last shot.
OPINION
April 18, 2011
"There happens to be nothing wrong with loud music in church. I've been employed for several years at a quiet church, and it's all I can do to sit and be quiet, because God didn't make me a quiet person. God made me a loud person. It says right in the Bible that we should shout and praise God with our hearts and our voices. Why must we continue to sit in a quiet church? I don't know, the churches need to get a life, really, and they need to realize it's OK to be loud sometimes. " — Hagerstown "In regards to this morning's paper, the article on the pension deal, and I quote where it says he said, — Only some of the money taken in through increased contributions will go to the pension fund.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | April 14, 2011
A major concern in the just-adjourned Maryland General Assembly session was how to tackle an estimated $19 billion unfunded liability in the state pension system. As elected officials tried to close the gap and keep the benefit system intact, one change they approved was an increase in employee contributions. Instead of the current 5 percent, all employees will now contribute 7 percent of their salaries. However, about two-thirds of that new revenue is expected to go to the general fund, not the pension fund.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | April 5, 2011
Washington County Republican Del. Andrew A. Serafini on Tuesday described the newly minted state pension agreement "a good first step. " State lawmakers reached a deal Monday on changes to the pension plan, as well as health-care coverage for retired state employees and their families. Maryland's unfunded liabilities are estimated at $19 billion for pensions and $16 billion for retiree health coverage. As of June 2010, the state's pension system was funded at about 64 percent; 80 percent is considered a safe level.
OPINION
By TOM FIREY | March 31, 2011
When Wisconsin erupted in labor strife last month, Tri-State residents could watch like audience members at a Jerry Springer show, enjoying the vitriol without fear that they have anything to lose. But the problems underlying the Wisconsin fight are also at work in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — and in far worse degree in those first two states. And no matter what decisions ultimately will be made in Annapolis, Harrisburg or Charleston, both public employees and taxpayers already are the losers.
NEWS
July 29, 2010
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --A Martinsburg woman is accused of embezzling $31,766 from an employee pension plan of am Eastern Panhandle-area business, according to U.S. Attorney Betsy Jividen's office. An indictment filed last week in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg alleges Sherry Lynn Hill embezzled and stole the money from Stinger Sheet Metal Inc. of Kearneysville, W.Va. from Jan. 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2008. The grand jury indictment also includes a forfeiture count wherein the government intends to seek the forfeiture of any property constituting or derived from proceeds traceable to such offense and a money judgment in the amount of what was allegedly taken, according to a press release from Jividen's office.
NEWS
August 5, 2009
ANNAPOLIS (AP) -- The value of Maryland's public pension fund has fallen by more than 20 percent over the past year. The stocks and other investments held by the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System hit a peak of $40.9 billion in 2007. But state officials say it had shrank to $28.5 billion as of June 30. The drop could force the state to dedicate additional money to cover employee retirement costs. Dean Kenderdine, executive director of the pension system, says the news could have been worse.
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