July 10, 2007

The Rhode Island Auditor General's List of Municipal Pensions at Risk

Carroll Andrew Morse

I know it's not the most exciting topic, but the Rhode Island Auditor General's just-released report on municipal pensions most at risk may help explain some of the tax bills and the consequences of certain decisions made in various communities around the state.

Category 1: Plans significantly underfunded with annual contributions significantly less than annual required amounts.

Pension Plan Funded Ratio % of Required Contribution made in FY2006 Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability
Central Falls Police and Fire (post 7/1/72) 34.6% 8% $20,599,620
Coventry Police 8.0% 28% $45,165,871
Coventry Municipal Employees 18.0% 13% $11,343,042
Coventry School Employees 46.6% n/a $9,368,668
Narragansett Police (pre 7/1/78) 5.1% 0% $901,264
Pawtucket Police and Fire (post 1974) 42.5% 54% $84,049,166
West Warwick 48.0% 47% $ 43,750,220

Category 2: Plans significantly underfunded with annual contributions are at or near 100% of annual required amounts.

Pension Plan Funded Ratio % of Required Contribution made in FY 2006 Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability
Central Falls Police and Fire (pre 7/1/72) 7.3% 127% $14,591,702
Cranston Police and Fire (pre 7/1/95) 15.5% 98% $217,543,602
Johnston Fire (pre 7/1/99) 30.7% 93% $30,529,696
Johnston Police 30.8% 100% $25,711,683
Newport Firemen’s Pension Plan 39.9% 100% $41,257,640
Providence 37.4% 96% $659,036,000
Scituate Police Pension Plan 37.0% 101% $4,268,707
Smithfield Police (prior to 7/1/99) 36.0% 153% $12,529,685
Warwick Police Pension I and Fire 27.0% 100% $194,841,382
Westerly Police 43.4% 96% $23,777,351

Category 3: Plans with annual contributions significantly less than required and generally declining over a multi-year period.

Pension Plan Funded Ratio % of Required Contribution made in FY 2006 Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability
Bristol Police (prior to 3/22/98) 67.0% 53% $5,608,883
East Providence Fire and Police 70.0% 24% $ 31,720,000
Narragansett Town Plan 79.0% 47% $10,957,669
Smithfield Fire 86.0% 72% $1,989,143

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This sure makes me proud to say I'm from Woonsocket...the ONLY large city not on the list!

Posted by: John at July 10, 2007 4:21 PM

The solution to this growing problem is clearly to continue to add new union employees to the roles of 'future pension earners'!

What we need is another 14,000 Pelosi's on the taxpayer dime...

Posted by: Greg at July 10, 2007 4:27 PM

Concerned citizens have been trying to bring this to the attention of WW’s Municipal “leaders” for over 6 years now. Heretofore they were usually treated as misinformed malcontents.

In my opinion, former WW TC President John Flynn seemed to do everything he could to cover for the Pension Fund’s dismal performance. First under Sen. Steve Alves and then under another former TC President, Geoff Rousselle. Of note, Flynn was hired as Leg Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee by Alves. Go figure….

Most of the "new" WW Town Council is actually taking action to set things straight. Prior Councils seemed to be reluctant to do anything that might embarrass Sen. Alves.
It's unfortunate that the taxpayers of WW have to pay the bills for past practices

Bottom line is that the WW Pension Plan was funded at almost 98% back ‘99! It was one of the strongest in the state. Gee, I wonder what happened to change the dynamics? Somehow, the Pension Fund’s Vice Chair and watchdog was ousted early in 2000, which set the stage for a new financial consultant, a subsidy of UBS Paine Webber. The UAAL then started to climb from a low of $1.6 million in ‘99 to over $51 million as of June ’06.

What is interesting is the fact that the Auditor General’s Report cites WW’s FY 05 Audit!

Perhaps the people of the State might ask the Senate Finance Committee Chair what happened to West Warwick? Are we seeing a repeat with the State Budget?

Posted by: Aldo at July 10, 2007 6:17 PM

i am from cranston and the mess was 30 years in the making...it will be there forever.

its a shame about ww.. it reallly should never have happenned.

but they keep voting these guys in

Posted by: johnpaycheck at July 10, 2007 7:00 PM

Coventry Sucks!!!

Posted by: John at July 11, 2007 12:27 PM

Have they settled on Wes Johnson? Are they open to moving back in the lottery? The Nets need to turn this pick into some kind of valuable piece that can help attract a free agent. They already have center Brook Lopez and point guard Devin Harris; now add a starter (and they hope a potential star) with this pick to go with the max free agent they can bring in this summer. Altogether, this has the makings of an impressive starting lineup: Harris, shooting guard Courtney Lee, Johnson, power forward Carlos Boozer (a likely free-agent target next week) and Lopez.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/ian_thomsen/06/24/draft.guide/.


Posted by: tentytupjarry at June 24, 2010 4:31 PM