Can I get an AMEN!!!!!

I am not Atlanta Mayor Mohammad K. Reed’s biggest fan (not by a long stretch), but if he actually follows through on this, I’ll be reassessing my opinions about this man in a huge way.

Officials in Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration told the City Council on Friday morning that they are preparing legislation to dramatically reduce pension benefits for city employees to the level of benefits a decade ago. The move would save millions for the city but is expected to set off an alarm among city workers.

Peter Aman, Reed’s chief operating officer, said during a council budget planning retreat at City Hall that the administration wants to roll back the calculations by which employees get benefits and lengthen the time it takes for an employee to receive full benefits. A city worker would have to work 15 years to get full benefits as opposed to 10 years now. The money they will get would be reduced dramatically. What each employee is paid varies depending upon years of service, rank and other factors, but the factor used to calculate benefits could drop by as much as one-third.

Aman said the mayor felt the city had “to put the tourniquet on the patient” and reduce pensions costs, which have grown exponentially since 2002, when the city increased pensions benefits for police, and 2005, when it increased pension benefits for firefighters and general employees.

Reed said in a meeting Friday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s editorial board that the city must spend less on pensions if Atlanta wants to survive financially. Atlanta’s annual pension spending has risen since 2001 from $55 million to a 2011 projected total of about $125 million.

“The city is on a trajectory to either reform or have some hard conversations by 2017 or 2018 of whether it exists,” the mayor said.

More details here.

24 comments

  1. Icarus says:

    I liked Mayor Reed best out of the candidates who ran, and still have high hopes that he can bring some needed changes to City Hall.

    This is the first step, and it’s a huge one. For the Atlanta region to be successful, the City of Atlanta needs to be successful. And for the COA to succeed, they’re going to have to fix their pension problem.

    Glad he’s starting with the tough stuff first. Let’s hope he succeeds.

    • BuckheadConservative says:

      Yup. I think all the Republican supporters of Mary “I ain’t no stinkin’ Republican” Norwood in Atlanta need to ask themself this…would she have tackled this head on right away as Mayor Reed has, and if so, would she have succeeded? If you are honest with yourself, the answer will be “no” and “no”.

      Not a huge fan of the Mayor, but I’ll give credit where it’s due. Way to be bold.

      • AubieTurtle says:

        I was shocked and disappointed by how much people lied to themselves during the mayoral election. I wonder how she would have handled the attempted come back of Freaknik.

        Good to see Reed taking on the pension issue but I doubt the city council will go along. At least Ms. Pander-wood is no longer a member.

    • ChuckEaton says:

      What concerns me is the possiblity that the current administration will decide to take money from the fiscally responsible states, like Georgia, and give it to out-of-control-spending states like CA and NY. A $500 billion unfunded pension fund isn’t so bad if Obama is willing to reach into the back pockets of current and future generations of Georgians.

  2. ChuckEaton says:

    While potholes make for catchy slogans, the pension fund has always been Atlanta’s biggest problem. Every Mayor keeps pushing it off, or making it worse, to the next guy. Watching Mayor Reed try to tackle this enormous problem gives me some hope.

  3. View from Brookhaven says:

    It’s the equivalent of carpet bombing your office, but it has to be done. If Reed follows through, I’ll be very, very impressed. He’s been rather quiet during his tenure thus far, but I’ve liked what has come out of his office.

  4. DonnaC says:

    10 YEARS! You’ve got to be kidding… I want to get me some o’ that. If Mayor Reed actually attacks this, head on, he will have my respect. I was amazed he appeared with Neil Cavuto on the 15th down at the Capitol. That took lots of moxie, and he was very polished and went out of his way not to offend anyone attending the demonstration. Atlanta may have picked a winner this time!

    • South Fulton Guy says:

      Pete didn’t need to post a picture because by using the Mayor’s legal name “Mohammad K. Reed” he’d already said black politician…LOL

  5. saltycracker says:

    Civil servant pensions are a time bomb of the first magnitude. We continue to kick the can down the road by underfunding and bogus return guesstimates. Private industry is replacing defined pension plans with funded 401K’s as fast as they can.

    And even those programs still around pale in comparison to civil servant programs that allow full retirements before age 62, accrue at more than 1.5 @ year, allow double dipping or contracting of retirees, rapid full vesting, bonuses for early outs and on and on. All based on wages that “compete with” or exceed private industry.

    In the educational system, heap on the incredible by increasing pensions at least 3% per year. Take a look at how much has to be set aside to underfund this budget each year ! Fix that and the high paying jobs in that system and no teacher has to be laid off.

    Does it take a Democrat in crisis to deal with the problem ?
    Where is the Republican legislation on this for Georgia civil servants ? Blustering over any issue but this 600lb. gorilla.

    No wonder the voter turn out is so low.

    Check this California but other state related site:
    http://www.pensiontsunami.com/index.php

    The Shape of Things to Come is a recent editorial by Steve Forbes which included the below comments and some extreme examples of civil servant payouts.

    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0315/opinions-fact-comment-steve-forbes-things-come.html

  6. Progressive Dem says:

    Pete, the next time you refer to the Governor, be sure to call him George Ervin Perdue. Apparently you are biggoted towards anyone named Mohammad? We don’t get to choose our names, Peter. What a pant load.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      You may well have commented before as Doug Grammer, but here’s hoping you stay with it.

      • Doug Grammer says:

        I plan to keep posting under my real name, if that’s what you mean. I’ll continue to say what I think and I won’t be afraid to ask others to back up what they say.

  7. B Balz says:

    Hon. Mayor Reed the unified accolades of this disparate group of news and political hounds ought to do your heart good — tough stance, good for you!

  8. saltycracker says:

    Great Job ? Words are not job completions. So far it is sabre rattling and at worst a red herring to accomplish something else. Civil servant pensions are a tsunami of fiscal irresponsibility.

    Until the “poor” in Atlanta understand that it is not just “other people’s money” and getting the after-work costs in fully funded 401K type participating plans is not a “hate” policemen, firemen and teachers campaign.

    Right now the goal of most civil servants is to get out asap with the best possible income & benefits. If they love their job then work until 62 without doubledipping public monies.

  9. saltycracker says:

    P.S.
    Changing programs now just might keep past promises. But not by continued underfunding and exercerbating the mess by cooking the books on forecasted returns with “accepted standards.”

    The Shape of Things to Come is a recent editorial by Steve Forbes which included the below comments and some extreme examples of civil servant payouts.
    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0315/opinions-fact-comment-steve-forbes-things-come.html

    California website looks at others too:
    http://www.pensiontsunami.com/

  10. Mohammad K. Reed!

    Awwww, snap!

    Good one, Pete. Would have been even awwww snappier if you’d spelled it correctly. It’s Mohammed.

    So is calling state and local politicians by names they don’t actually go by a blanket policy for you now, or will it be reserved for black men with Muslim names?

  11. trainsplz says:

    Pete, you sound like Ann Coulter. Is she really someone you want to emulate, or do you want to grow up?

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