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Pension Funds

New Orleans ordinance could lead to changes in retirement age, COLA for city employees

A red Canal Streetcar parked inside the streetcar barn in the Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans.

New Orleans City Employees' Retirement System might see changes in its retirement age and cost-of-living adjustment following the passage of a new ordinance by the New Orleans City Council, said Jesse L. Evans Jr., director.

The council passed the ordinance Dec. 1 in an effort to improve the $381 million pension plan's funding ratio, which is currently 68.2%, Mr. Evans said.

The ordinance would change the COLA to be permissible only if the pension plan's funding ratio is at least 95%. The current temporary COLA, in the form of a 13th monthly check, is permissible only with a funding ratio of between 75% and 85% and a permanent COLA permissible only with a funding ratio above 85%.

Also, the retirement age would be changed for participants with at least 20 years of service to age 62 from 60 and the current "rule of 80" combining age and years of service would be eliminated. The current retirement ages of 65 years with five years of service and any age with 30 years of service would remain unchanged.

Finally, the deferred retirement option plan participation period would be lowered to 36 months from 60 months.

The ordinance is awaiting Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu's signature. Mr. Evans said Mr. Landrieu's position on the ordinance is not known.