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Grand Island councilman raises concerns about pension fiasco
Grand Island city officials are facing some big decisions involving mismanaging of funds. The police pension reserve is low on funding.
And the reason?
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been mistakenly paid to retired officers.
"Her choice cost the tax payers $380,000 and that's what sickens me," said Chuck Haase, Grand Island City Councilmen.
G.I. Councilmen Chuck Haase is referring to city finance director Jaye Monter.
She paid one retired police officer over $450,000 in November for his pension.
Haase raised questions when the amount came before city council for approval.
"Once I had the information in my hand and was able just to look at it, it didn't take you know, 30 seconds to determine that it was wrong," said Haase.
The payment is based on a joint-life annuity.
This is calculated taking both the city employee and spouse's life expectancy into account.
But, according to city records the pension should be calculated based on just the employee's life expectancy.
The city finance director is defending the payment.
"I communicated with councilman Haase that that was the correct process that we had been following in the city of Grand Island that I could remember," said Jaye Monter, G.I. Finance Director.
The process was changed in 2005.
But, who changed it?
"I think there were a hundred opportunities for people to say this isn't right and to step up and do the right thing," said Haase.
Any changes to this policy are required by law to come before city council.
No records indicate this ever happened.
Though Monter has only been finance director for about a year, Haase is holding her responsible.
"This is 100% on her. This is her responsibility to the tax payers, to the council. And the council trusts the staff is doing the right job and doing it the right way," said Haase.
Haase says the finance director does an actuary every two years to see if the reserve is funded or unfunded.
The most recent actuary did not include the joint life annuity.
"So if that was in fact the policy, why wouldn't the actuary do that.
This is all very strange. There's no connection between the actuary and what's really happening and that concerns me," said Haase.
Haase was the city finance director from 1992 until 1999.
The city council will be discussing this issue at the next meeting on December 18th.
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