New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an executive order establishing a pension reform working group to recommend changes to the New Orleans Fire Fighters Pension & Relief Fund.
The nine-member group, created on Monday by Mr. Landrieu, is “tasked with recommending changes to ensure the fund is sustainable and affordable for retirees, active firefighters, the city of New Orleans and taxpayers,” a news release from the mayor's office said.
As of Dec. 31, the Fire Fighters Pension & Relief Fund had assets of $85 million and an actuarial liability of $424 million, for a funding ratio of 20%, according to an independent auditor's report.
“The city and the firefighters must have a financially sustainable and affordable retirement plan as we move into the future. The status quo is unacceptable,” Mr. Landrieu said in the news release. “The end result should ensure that the authority to make changes to the fund rests with the people who are responsible for paying.”
As of July 31, the allocation of the fund was: 58.1% real estate, 22.3% equities, 9.5% private equity, 6.8% fixed income and 3.3% hedge funds.
The members of the new Firefighters Pension Reform Working Group are: Stacy Head, City Council president; Andy Kopplin, first deputy mayor and the city's chief administrative officer; Tim McConnell, superintendent of the New Orleans Fire Department.; Paul Mitchell Jr., the pension fund's deputy director; Thomas F. Meagher III, the pension fund's secretary-treasurer; Nick Felton, president of New Orleans Fire Fighters Association Local 632; Hardy Fowler, independent accountant; Scott Jacobs, independent insurance and risk management professional; Greg Rattler Sr., first vice president of government and non-profit banking at J.P. Morgan Chase in New Orleans; and Paul Flower, president of Woodward Design-Build and chairman of the Business Council of New Orleans.
The Firefighters Pension Reform Working Group must make recommendations to the city by Feb. 1, 2015, to have the opportunity to introduce legislation to the state Legislature before its 2015 regular session begins on April 13.
Mr. Mitchell did not return a phone call by press time and Mr. Meagher was unavailable by press time.