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Longboat Key Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010 7 years ago

Pension board trustees disagree

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Pension board members and Key residents Michael Seamon and Arnold Malasky have disagreed via e-mail about the town’s three pension plans.

Police pension board trustee Seamon wrote a letter, dated March 19, to Commissioner Gene Jaleski explaining that, in his opinion, the pension plans are safe, the town’s future obligations are reasonable and unfunded liabilities are being properly managed.

Seamon also told Jaleski that reducing pension benefits are unlikely to reduce the town’s pension costs.
But firefighter pension board trustee Malasky responded to Seamon’s letter with his own letter dated April 4 to Jaleski. He stated the following:

• The town’s pension plans are safe as long as the town doesn’t go bankrupt.

• The town’s fiscal-year contributions to the pension plans are debatable.

• The town’s unfunded liabilities are being amortized on less than an interest-only basis, which many people would not consider proper management.

• Reducing pension benefits would reduce the town’s pension costs.

Seamon, upset with Malasky’s letter, sent a follow-up letter to Jaleski dated April 7, defending his position.

Wrote Seamon: “I cannot express my frustration enough with the statements made by Mr. Malasky in his letter. While I have a high regard for his professionalism and background as a retired pension actuary, I respectfully disagree with many of his comments and conclusions. Much of Mr. Malasky’s arguments seem to be made not for constructive discussion but rather for no other reason than to argue.”

Seamon says Malasky’s statement regarding the town going bankrupt as a reason for the pension plans’ demise is not a sound argument.

“To even suggest town bankruptcy and forfeiture of one’s pension is irresponsible, raises unnecessary concern and detracts from finding real solutions,” Seamon wrote.

Seamon also states that Malasky’s argument regarding unfunded liabilities is not debatable, because the town, Malasky’s pension board and the state approved a plan to pay back more than $25 million in liabilities.

Wrote Seamon: “The real question is whether there is a pension crisis. I think not. The pension plans are not putting the town at risk, whatsoever. And to substantiate that point, one need to look no further than the sand debate. I am sure someone will know better than I, but it looks like the difference in cost between .18 millimeter sand and .25 millimeter sand would be almost enough to fully fund all three of the town’s pension plans.”

Seamon also notes all three of the town’s pension plans should have gains this fiscal year, which will help reduce unfunded liabilities and reduce overall costs to the

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