St. Louis mayor vetoes firefighters’ pension change; action sets up a veto override fight when aldermen reconvene April 19

Link: https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/st-louis-mayor-vetoes-firefighters-pension-change-action-sets-up-a-veto-override-fight-when/article_b2c1a7d3-3c7c-52d1-b2ff-98fb5096d473.html

Excerpt:

Warning that it would be “fiscally irresponsible,” Mayor Lyda Krewson on Thursday vetoed a bill that would return supervision of all city Fire Department pensions to a firefighter-controlled board.

The Board of Aldermen earlier this month approved the bill despite warnings from Comptroller Darlene Green, Budget Director Paul Payne and others that the measure would reverse some reforms enacted in 2012 that put a check on the city’s pension liabilities.

Krewson, in her veto message to aldermen, said she shared those concerns.

Author(s): Mark Schlinkmann

Publication Date: 25 February 2021

Publication Site: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missourians May Get to Keep Erroneous Unemployment Payments

Link: https://www.governing.com/finance/Missourians-May-Get-to-Keep-Erroneous-Unemployment-Payments.html

Excerpt:

Legislators are taking action after Gov. Mike Parson’s administration resisted calls to let Missourians keep unemployment benefits they were paid in error.

The House Special Committee on Government Oversight on Wednesday heard seven separate proposals to forgive the return of unemployment payments mistakenly given to people who did not intend to commit fraud.

Committee Chair Rep. Jered Taylor, R- Nixa, said the committee will likely combine several of the bills, some of which are nearly identical, into a single proposal. The committee would then hold a vote on the proposal early next week.

Author(s): MARIA BENEVENTO, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Publication Date: 11 February 2021

Publication Site: Governing

Despite retired St. Louis teacher’s death, daughter collected $150k in pension

Link: https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/despite-retired-st-louis-teachers-death-daughter-collected-150k-in-pension/article_70f559eb-3a4e-5e2c-b080-bd3bbe06b6bd.html

Excerpt:

For more than seven years after the death of a retired St. Louis teacher in 2012, her daughter kept collecting nearly $150,000 in pension benefits, federal charging documents unsealed this month say.

The teacher’s daughter, Cheryl Ladner Kimbrough, has been arrested on five felony counts of wire fraud. She pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

The indictment says Kimbrough’s mother, who is identified only by the initials A.L., retired in 1999 and moved in with Kimbrough in southern Texas. After the death of Kimbrough’s mother on Sept. 16, 2012, pension payments continued to be deposited into the joint account she held with Kimbrough.

Author(s): Robert Patrick

Publication Date: 8 February 2021

Publication Site: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Pension official: Firm facing lawsuit tried to influence Missouri lawmakers

Excerpt:

A Canadian firm that is being sued by Missouri’s largest public pension system for allegedly mishandling investments has hired a lobbyist who tried to influence legislators and put pressure on the pension outside of court proceedings, a pension official said in court testimony.

The private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group hired a lobbyist after the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System filed its lawsuit in October. Pension system executive director Ronda Stegmann testified in a court hearing last week that lobbyist Richard McIntosh tried to set up a meeting with Stegmann, two legislators and Catalyst executives, The Kansas City Star reported.

Original Source: Associated Press

Publication Date: 28 January 2021

Publication Site: Missouri Lawyers Media

Editorial: Vote-conscious aldermen embrace a fiscally unsustainable pension idea

Link: https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-vote-conscious-aldermen-embrace-a-fiscally-unsustainable-pension-idea/article_f4050760-f8bc-575d-9995-cb0fa5112f1c.html

Description: Editorial saying that St. Louis, Missouri aldermen are considering merging locally-controlled pension plan for firefighters with state-controlled plan, which will make pension costs skyrocket again.

Excerpt:

A major problem in controlling costs was that the pension was under state control. Firefighters were historically very successful at lobbying state lawmakers for generous benefits, regardless of how much it cost city taxpayers. The city passed pension reform legislation in 2012 creating a new, locally controlled pension system for newly hired firefighters. Existing and retired firefighters stayed in the old system. By 2020, costs dropped back down to $12.4 million, less than half of their 2013 peak.

Publication Date: 23 January 2021

Publication Site: St. Louis Post-Dispatch