City of Lincoln
2009 Media Releases
Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that his budget proposal for 2009-2010 includes a change in the City employee retirement plan to a $1 to $1 match for new employees. The City currently contributes $2 for every $1 contributed by employees to the pension plan. The City Council will consider an ordinance to change the match effective January 1. Beutler made the announcement with City Council Chair Doug Emery and Vice Chair John Spatz.
Beutler said the two-for-one match has created a divide between City employees and many residents who receive a much lower retirement match from their employers. And the Mayor said it's difficult for the City to move forward in unity if residents believe the City's priorities are misplaced.
"Many ask why their tax dollars are financing retirements they themselves cannot hope to attain," Beutler said. "It is difficult for citizens to understand why we must cut the services they depend on during a budget shortfall but still maintain the two-to-one match. The generosity of our retirement program is inhibiting Lincolnites' willingness to invest in our future. Without that investment, we cannot achieve our vision of tomorrow."
Beutler said the proposed match reduction does not reflect the value placed on City employees. "As Mayor, I have set a very high standard and demanded a new level of accountability," he said. "As budget realities have led to program reductions they have done more work with fewer resources. Many are putting in longer hours and expanding their to-do lists because they care about this community and the people they serve."
The Mayor said the cost savings of the proposed change will be limited because the City cannot legally change the retirement match for current employees. The City also does not anticipate a large increase in hiring in the near future. The budget office estimates that the change to a one-to-one match would save $2.2 million over the next five years if hiring follows the same pattern as the last five years.
The Mayor will present his budget to the City Council at 10 a.m. Monday, July 6. The presentation will be carried live on 5 CITY-TV, government access cable channel 5. The City Council votes on tentative changes to the Mayor's budget in July. The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for August 10.