Cincinnati USA Regional ChamberGrowing the vibrancy and
economic prosperity of our region

In This Issue:

    October 01, 2013

    What's the future of our pension system?


    Cincinnati's pension system has been in the news plenty over the past few weeks - and people don't have very good things to say. A recent Bloomberg story warned that bond analysts are scrutinizing pension systems around the country, and Cincinnati is in danger of having our credit rating cut again. Earlier this month, the Huffington Post ran a story written by Barbara J. Easterling, the President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, that was quite clear in its position; the article was titled "Privatizing Cincinnati's Retirement System -- A Bad Deal for Retirees, Workers and the City".

    So what's really going on with the city's public pension systems? To answer questions and offer insights, the Chamber will host an expert panel discussion this Friday, October 4. Join us for breakfast to learn more about how the systems and the perceptions around them are changing. The panel will discuss both the current statuses and future directions of the Cincinnati Retirement System and the five Ohio pension systems.

    The expert panel will include:

    Tilsley, PaulaPaula Tilsley Executive Director of the Cincinnati Retirement System

    Since joining the City of Cincinnati in 2009, Tilsley has facilitated changes to the current board structure and spearheaded sweeping changes to moderate retirement and health care benefits bringing them more in line with public industry standards. She works with the Board, the City Manager, the Mayor, and City Council to manage and develop retirement policy.

    Newfarmer, JerryJerry Newfarmer President and CEO of Management Partners

    Newfarmer founded Management Partners in 1994 after many years of public management in Ohio and California, and has since led the firm to nationally recognized expertise in municipal development review processes, strategic planning, budgeting and finance, and organizational analysis.

    Bethany Rhodes Director and General Counsel of the Ohio Retirement Study Council

    Rhodes joined the ORSC as Director in 2012, and has since also assumed the duties of ORSC General Counsel. Prior to taking the helm of the ORSC, she served in various capacities for 16 years in both the Ohio House and Senate, mainly focusing on the issues of pensions, health, Medicaid, insurace, workers’ compensation, and ethics.

    The Chamber recently released its City Council Candidate Scorecard along with positions on two tax levy renewals as well as the proposed charter amendment to the pension system. After thorough analysis, discussions with Chamber members, input from the Chamber's Government Affairs Council and the Chamber's Board of Directors, it was announced that the Chamber will support both Hamilton County tax levy renewals supporting the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

    In regard to the pension amendment, the Chamber determined that the current deficit of $862M makes it difficult to continue to cultivate a strong business community, and is a liability that we cannot afford. However - the proposed charter amendment is not the best solution. There are too many unanswered questions surrounding the amendment including increased costs to the City and concerns regarding its legality. Therefore, the Chamber urges City Council and the Mayor to act before the election to make meaningful and responsible pension reforms.

    Read the press release.

    Register for next week's forum to learn more about the future of our pension system.


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