Last Friday marked the end of what has turned out to be a surprisingly productive session. This year was a refreshing change from recent sessions past in which the chambers found their legislative work slowed by conflict and infighting and PQs. Both chambers worked diligently to ensure this year was a different story.
Above: 2016 annual benefits paid to LAGERS' benefit recipients in Missouri.
This post was originally published in November, 2017. For more information on how pensions benefit everyone, go to showmesecurity.molagers.org
Employee benefits are often thought to be for the betterment of one and only one group - the employees. Rather than simply providing a salary, employers use benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation to build morale, keep good workers, and to attract new workers. For these reasons, it makes sense to think that compensation other than salary are good for the employees and only the employees. But there is more to it than that.
A publicly-held company must make decisions that will positively affect the bottom line so the shareholders may profit. Likewise, government leaders serve the taxpayers and make decisions to enhance the prosperity of their communities. Decisions about employee benefits, therefore, cannot only be valuable to the employee, but also must make sense for the shareholder or taxpayer. In other words, all stakeholders must get some return on the investment for employee benefits.
This week we are celebrating public servants during Public Service Recognition Week. It's a time to take a moment to observe the men and women that make our communities go. At LAGERS, we have the pleasure of serving the public servants with whom we interact with daily. We have collected many stories from these wonderful people over the years and would like to share some of those stories here as we say THANK YOU to all the public servants out there!
A little over a year ago, LAGERS board and staff established “A Secure Retirement for All” as our new vision statement. By their nature, vision statements are meant to be lofty, inspiring and something on the edge of being unobtainable. However, every goal, strategy, and decision that is made at LAGERS is driven by this statement.
We are entering into the final few weeks of session, as we continue to watch several bills that could impact LAGERS. Back in January, I wrote about three bills in particular: House Bill 1329, House Bill 2044, and Senate Bill 628. All three of these bills contain language that would allow for Metro Planning Organizations and Soil and Water Conservation Districts to seek membership in the LAGERS system.
About a year ago, I had a conversation with some of my friends about what I do for a living. When I told them I work for a public pension plan, their reaction was not quite what I expected. They began telling me pension plans are old fashioned and the best type of retirement plan was the 401(k). They all work in private industry and are seeing fewer private employers provide pension plans. So, their assumption is, of course, the 401(k) is better.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Missouri Municipal League’s Partner in Governance Conference. This event is a one-day gathering of the minds, with partners from the Missouri Municipal League, the Institute of Public Policy at the University of Missouri, the Missouri Association of Counties, the Missouri School Boards' Association and FOCUS-St. Louis, in which local leaders discuss various challenges and best practices in local government. While the entire day was outstanding (and I’d highly recommend you attend next year), there were a few highlights for me that I think are particularly noteworthy.