November 27, 2014  
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The Week in Public Finance: Expensive Retirees, State Spending Redux and Following the Rules

Nov 24, 2014 (19:51:04)

New Jersey’s mounting pension woes are headline news but it turns out they have nothing on the state’s obligations for retiree healthcare. The state’s total liability for retirees’ so-called “other postemployment benefits” (OPEB) is a whopping $66.8 billion, second only to New York’s $68.2 billion, according to Standard & Poor’s annual OPEB report released Nov. 17. (New Jersey has about $50 billion in unfunded pension liabilities between its three main pension funds.) Unlike pensions, neither state sets aside money in advance for OPEB so those burdens are the same as their unfunded liability. New Jersey is also among the states that saw the biggest year-over-year increase in its OPEB liability with nearly a $3 billion jump. Texas had the highest increase of $5 billion. Read more:

Unions Rethink Strategy After Election Losses

Nov 21, 2014 (10:49:41)

Most of the candidates public-sector unions spent time and money supporting this fall were defeated, prompting leaders to question the effectiveness of endorsing any candidates at all. Read more:

Brook Park fire union opposes idea of privatizing city's ambulance service

Nov 21, 2014 (10:48:52)

BROOK PARK, Ohio -- Nearly 200 people rallied outside a city council meeting on Tuesday to oppose a possible privatization of the Brook Park ambulance service. Read more:

Akron not in contempt when negotiating fire department promotions, court monitor says

Nov 21, 2014 (10:47:58)

AKRON, Ohio -- The City of Akron did not violate a court order when it negotiated a new seniority and education-based promotional agreement with firefighters. Read more:

Getting Real about Pension Investments

Nov 20, 2014 (09:58:52)

It's certainly tempting for officials in charge of state pension systems to hike up assumed rates of return. Better investment returns translate into smaller appropriations to fund pensions and can facilitate generous cost-of-living adjustments for retirees. Read more:

Suburban officials speak against fire department staffing bill

Nov 20, 2014 (09:58:03)

Nearly two dozen suburban leaders on Tuesday ramped up their opposition to a proposal in Springfield that would subject fire department staffing levels to collective bargaining and binding outside arbitration. Read more:

Cash-strapped Brook Park looks to LifeCare as potential rescue provider

Nov 20, 2014 (09:55:29)

ELYRIA — LifeCare Ambulance Inc. is being considered as a provider of emergency medical services in Brook Park as city officials mull ways to cut costs, but the idea to privatize the city service has fire union members up in arms. Read more:

Firefighters, paramedics protest possible plan to hire private ambulance company

Nov 20, 2014 (09:54:47)

BROOK PARK, Ohio- Firefighters and paramedics from across the area joined fellow firefighters in Brook Park for a demonstration before Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Read more:

Akron firefighters vote to promote officers based on seniority, education

Nov 19, 2014 (09:15:11)

AKRON, Ohio -- The Akron Firefighters Association voted Thursday in favor of an agreement with the City of Akron that would allow for the promotion of firefighters based on their seniority and education level. Read more:

As Akron Fire Department prepares first promotional test in a decade, new legal questions arise

Nov 14, 2014 (08:45:15)

AKRON, Ohio -- Akron is preparing a promotional test for firefighters for the first time in 10 years, just in time to replenish dwindling ranks of officers and avert what some have called a public safety nightmare. Read more:

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