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Government and Politics

Officials are examining Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund projections
Republican Rep. Lynn Wachtmann says the pension fund is using the wrong funding formula

Andy Chow
In The Region:
Officials are arguing over a state retirement plan and whether or not it meets Ohio’s funding requirements. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow talked to one lawmaker who believes the system's board is being deceptive.
Officials examining Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund projections

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There’s a growing dispute between leaders of a state retirement panel and a public pension system.

Earlier this month the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund sent out a statement claiming it’s in good shape and on track to meet the state’s 30-year funding requirement.

Republican Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, who chairs the Ohio Retirement Study Council, says that statement was deceptive to its members.

Wachtmann says pension fund is using the wrong formula to determine its funding requirement. He argues the fund takes into account the present-day assets instead of what’s called a smoothing of assets. The latter takes the past four years of investments into consideration. This is believed to create a more reasonable, long-term number.

Wachtmann says the pension’s board should be prepared to make changes.

“If they’re not within 30-year funding, ...  they should bring a proposal forward. But history shows that they’re not very good at that.”

Since the state just recently implemented major pension reform, Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police President Jay McDonald is calling for patience from the council and to give the reform time to prove that it’s working.

And as for Wachtmann’s accusation of deception, McDonald says, “I think that’s completely ridiculous. The board of the fund is made up of members both police officers and firefighters -- both active and retired. We stand by the board, we trust the board. Nobody wants a solid, stable, solvent fund more than the members and the members that serve on the board.”

Because of the reform deal between the state and all of Ohio's public pension funds, members will pay out 12.5 percent of their salary toward their retirement benefits, and McDonald says that’s enough.
Listener Comments:

I am a member of OPFPF. I trust our elected board much more than I trust the members of government or the public for that matter. I also am a member of OSTRS, which has been reformed by government standards. STRS has been ruined by the "reform." I do not want the same to happen to OPFPF. It's not a public decision.

Posted by: stan henry (Wooster, Ohio) on September 15, 2013 12:09PM
To any rational person, it's unthinkable that the OPFPF's report should be the gold standard for such a sigficant decision. To me, it's comparable to the fox guarding the chickens. Why aren't the State and private citizens, part of this group. Each person on the OPFPF has their own personal pocketd to protect, not the public. Geez. no wonder their veracity is in question.

Posted by: stan bluestein (Banner Elk,NC) on September 13, 2013 10:09AM
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