Pensions Get a B+
Nancy Walker, executive director of the city's retirement system, says that influence was all bad. At the end of fiscal 2007, the investment fund supporting city's pension plan was valued at $452 million. "At the end of [fiscal year] 2006, $405 million was the plan's value. ... At end of 2009, the fund was at $322 million."
The fund still hasn't recovered. "Right now it's at $450 million, so basically back up to where it was 2007," Walker says. And at the same time that the recession was taking a bite out of the plan's value, more people began drawing pensions. "There were a lot of cutbacks in personnel, and that increased the number of people in retirement substantially," Walker says. "So we've had to pay out more."
Powers explains that while "benefits vary between general service employees and police or fire employees, there is one pension plan, and there's always been one pension plan. The most significant difference is between general services and police and fire because police and fire employees have shorter careers and more physically demanding jobs."