LEOFF 1/TRS 1 Merger Study
There has been a lot of discussion about the LEOFF 1/TRS 1 merger study. The Select Committee has even gone so far as to establish a series of Round Table Discussions about the issues involved. The idea behind this approach was to give the stakeholders an opportunity to discuss the bill and its implications in depth. Ideally we would be able to get clear and truthful answers from the committee staffs, legislators and the actuary.
Thus far that has not happened. We have had one Round Table meeting but there were no legislators except for Senator Conway who opposed SB 6668. There was no one from the Actuary’s office that could address our questions dealing with the impacts of such a merger. There was no one from the Attorney General’s Office that would speak to the legal issues involved.
So, this meeting became just an airing of views from a group of stakeholders that by-and-large oppose the bill on various grounds.
This will get us nowhere. We already know we oppose it. We already know that our lawyers say it is illegal. We already know that it is bad public policy. We already know it is bad pension policy.
The Round Table should provide an opportunity to discuss the issues with those who see the proposal as legal and good policy. I guess there aren’t any.
Over 1400 surveys have been completed. Hundreds of unique questions have been asked. Hundreds of concerns have been expressed. No questions have been answered and no concerns have been addressed.
Our only goal in participating in this study is to convince the Select Committee to issue a report that declares the merger concept to be illegal and bad public policy. To declare that it is purely a political effort to extract funds from the budget by not paying the premiums already promised. To declare that it is yet another slap in the face for teachers at the expense of police officers and fire fighters.
We are running out of time to fully investigate this proposal and produce a coherent report. A second Round Table discussion has not even been scheduled. This is not working.
While we thank Senator Conway for his effort to provide stakeholders with some participation in this process, it has failed and it is looking more and more like it will fail. I think the best we can hope for from the SCPP is a non-committal report with a lot of actuarial numbers and a legal report that is wishy-washy at best.
That means that we will need to address this with the legislators directly—the same way we deal with all legislation. That means we write letters and emails. That means we call the legislators directly. That means we walk the halls in Olympia and convince the legislators that it would be a mistake to vote for this bill.
Ultimately, if it should pass, we will need to resort to legal action to stop it. I am comfortable we can win such a law suit, but I also believe it is in everybody’s interest to avoid that action if possible.
See the latest reports:
LEOFF 2 Board Meeting Report: http://www.leoff1.net/articles/458/1/LEOFF-2-Board-Meeting---July-27---a-Report/Page1.html
July 27 Merger Round Table Report: http://www.leoff1.net/articles/460/1/Merger-Roundtable-July-27/Page1.html