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Pension System

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NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | January 18, 2011
Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, is trying to keep his legislative colleagues informed about the state's pension system shortfall. Serafini has made the pension gap one of his top issues since he became a delegate in 2008. As of June 2010, the state's pension system was funded at about 64 percent — well below 80 percent, which is considered a safe level, according to a report prepared by a commission studying the issue. On Tuesday, Serafini gave an informal presentation on the state pension system to a group of delegates in Annapolis.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | March 15, 2011
Washington County Republican Del. Andrew A. Serafini Tuesday presented several bills that would revamp the state's underfunded pension system. Maryland's leaders are wrestling with how to handle $19 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and another $16 billion in unfunded liabilities for retiree health care. Earlier this legislative session, at the request of the House Republican Caucus, Serafini led a work group that explored the problem and possible solutions and heard suggestions from various labor and government organizations.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | March 13, 2012
For the second straight year, Del. Andrew A. Serafini has offered a package of bills that he said could improve the state's pension system. Two of his bills would change the system from defined contributions to defined benefits, while another would require counties to pay a portion of pension costs for employees of school boards, community colleges and libraries - if their median salaries exceed statewide medians. The final bill would eliminate the State Retirement Agency's Investment Division, including the chief investment officer.
OPINION
August 15, 2010
When Del. Andrew A. Serafini tells the truth, his colleagues, including many of his fellow Republicans, head for the hills. The message - that the state could be brought to its knees by its gelatinous beer belly of a pension system - is considered toxic, especially in an election year. But Serafini is less concerned with his political career than he is with the $1 trillion question: Why should public pensions be sacred when just about every private pension in America has been scaled back or eliminated altogether?
NEWS
by SCOTT BUTKI | October 15, 2004
scottb@herald-mail.com The Washington County Board of Education is asking the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly to work to improve the state's pension system so the board can better attract and retain highly qualified teachers, Board President Edward Forrest said Wednesday. The issue is one of three requests the Board of Education is asking the delegation to address during the next legislative session, which begins in January. The Board of Education has sent a letter to the delegation listing the three legislative priorities.
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.
NEWS
By JULIE E. GREENE | April 16, 1998
About 300 City of Hagerstown employees will have to wait another year for enhanced retirement benefits as a result of the Maryland General Assembly's decision not to include them in a benefits package approved for most state pension participants. The enhanced state benefits for state employees and teachers will go into effect July 1 provided an actuarial analysis does not show the plan would result in significant unexpected costs, state Sen. Donald F. Munson said Wednesday. The state's 98 local governments - county and municipal - were fighting internally over whether to join the improved pension system since some of them provide better benefits on their own, said Munson, R-Washington.
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.
NEWS
By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com | February 21, 2013
Three Pennsylvania lawmakers stopped by a Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday to talk about Harrisburg's ambitious political agenda that could have far-reaching and long-term effects. Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly this spring are debating the merits of the governor's plans to improve revenues. For 2013-14, Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed a $28.4 billion budget, which represents 3 percent in new spending. “The budget is going to be a challenge again this year.
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NEWS
August 16, 2013
(AP) - Jerry Sandusky might have to testify in person if he wants to win back the pension he earned during three decades at Penn State University - and former FBI Director Louis Freeh could be called as a witness, as well. Sandusky, 69, lost his $4,900-a-month pension on Oct. 9, the day he was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for sexual abuse of 10 boys. The forfeiture also made his wife, Dottie, ineligible for benefits. Sandusky appealed the revocation. The hearing examiner charged with handling the appeal wrote last month that his lawyers and the State Employees' Retirement System, or SERS, both may want the former Penn State assistant football coach to testify at a Jan. 7 hearing.
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NEWS
By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com | February 21, 2013
Three Pennsylvania lawmakers stopped by a Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday to talk about Harrisburg's ambitious political agenda that could have far-reaching and long-term effects. Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly this spring are debating the merits of the governor's plans to improve revenues. For 2013-14, Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed a $28.4 billion budget, which represents 3 percent in new spending. “The budget is going to be a challenge again this year.
NEWS
By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com | February 5, 2013
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett on Tuesday laid out a budget plan that calls for increased spending for public schoolchildren, senior citizens and individuals with developmental disabilities after years of cutting or flat-funding many programs. Corbett also vowed to tackle some of the state's biggest issues, such as crumbling roads and the troubled pension system. He re-emphasized initiatives to replace state-run liquor stores with twice as many privately operated wine and liquor stores.
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
By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com | July 26, 2012
A Republican candidate for state treasurer visited Franklin County, Pa., on Thursday to meet with government leaders and later stopped by the Shippensburg (Pa.) Fair. Diana Irey Vaughan has been a county commissioner in Washington County, Pa., for 17 years. She said she wants to bring successful techniques from her home county to the state. Irey Vaughan, who talked with reporters after meeting with Franklin County Treasurer Dave Secor, said she also is learning about financial practices used in other states.
NEWS
By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com | June 11, 2012
The Tuscarora School Board on Monday approved a $33 million budget that makes no significant changes to operations, but includes a property tax hike to combat increased contributions to the state pension system. The school board approved a 2-mill tax increase that will cost the average homeowner an additional $37 a year. Tuscarora Business Manager Eric Holtzman said the majority of the tax increase is needed for payments into the Public School Employees' Retirement System, commonly referred to as PSERS.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | April 21, 2012
Washington County's state legislators pursued some lofty but unattainable goals this year, along with several more grounded ideas that succeeded. Sen. George C. Edwards and Del. John P. Donoghue each won a share of the state's capital budget for local projects. Sen. Ronald N. Young sponsored successful legislation to protect employees or job applicants from having to hand over their passwords to social media sites. After four failed tries, Sen. Christopher B. Shank amended his proposal to increase the penalty for fatal child abuse this year and it passed.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | March 13, 2012
For the second straight year, Del. Andrew A. Serafini has offered a package of bills that he said could improve the state's pension system. Two of his bills would change the system from defined contributions to defined benefits, while another would require counties to pay a portion of pension costs for employees of school boards, community colleges and libraries - if their median salaries exceed statewide medians. The final bill would eliminate the State Retirement Agency's Investment Division, including the chief investment officer.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | January 26, 2012
Discontented lawmakers gathered Thursday for a briefing on the perceived “war on rural Maryland” - and to redouble their commitment to combat it. Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-Caroline/Cecil/Kent/Queen Anne's, the Senate minority leader, briefed about 15 legislators, focusing on PlanMaryland, the state's new effort at managing growth. The discussion moved to topics such as septic systems, water improvement plans, property rights and gas drilling, as lawmakers aired their dissatisfaction with what they see as unfair urban-centric governance.
NEWS
By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com | January 21, 2012
In announcing a proposal to shift some teacher pension costs to local counties this past week, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said local jurisdictions haven't had enough incentive to control salaries because the state has borne the cost of teacher pensions. If a pension pushdown does happen, some Washington County Board of Education members said it could affect salary issues in contract negotiations. Other board members said it was too soon to say what impact a possible pension cost pushdown would have or they didn't want to speculate because the school system is in negotiations with the teachers union on salary issues.
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