The Brunswick News coverage of the conference center issue has been commendable. Citizens would appreciate the same in-depth coverage concerning the county commission’s consideration of adding elected officials to the county’s defined benefit plan. Questions to ask: Is the plan underfunded and by what amount? What is the projected portfolio growth rate assumption and is it reasonable? Who is the portfolio manager and what is his compensation? Are young and older employees receiving the same contribution percentages? Is the plan age neutral? Is the ten-year vesting schedule antiquated and does it hurt our ability to attract quality new hires? Would adding a new group of older people (elected officials) to the plan significantly increase costs? Are the costs predictable each year or subject to market risks? What are the trends of other municipalities across the nation?

Accurate answers to these questions would make it clear that adding elected officials to the defined benefit plan is not in the best interest of the tax payers or the county. The current plan should be frozen for all new hires and changed to a defined contribution plan design that has a shorter vesting schedule, has predictable costs, is age neutral, fair to all employee age groups and fair to the tax payers. Why would we endorse a retirement defined benefit plan that discriminates against younger workers and at the same time discriminates against hiring older workers? The News should vigorously investigate and expose this costly issue — please.

Bob Joiner

St. Simons Island

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