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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

NCFPD employees to help with pension debt paydown


Last updated 6/1/2018 at 4:33pm

The employees of the North County Fire Protection District have offered to forego a full pay raise in order to reduce the district's unfunded pension liability.

A 4-0 NCFPD board vote May 22, with Kathleen Thuner absent, accepted the offer to increase the district's payment into the California Public Employees' Retirement System and reduce the district's future CalPERS funding obligations.

"We had an opportunity to start paying down a portion of our CalPERS UAL," said NCFPD fire chief Steve Abbott. "The employees came forward and opted to participate in our accelerated paydown program."

Nearly every public agency has an unfunded actuarial liability which must be paid when employees receive pensions. The current NCFPD employees recognized the need for the district to fund future pension payments and thus the danger of the district's pension obligation shortfall.

"They have given up a portion of their pay raise in lieu of that," Abbott said.

The accelerated payment will save the district approximately $1 million over a 10-year period. "It's kind of like paying down a credit card," said Abbott.

"It really demonstrates a good spirit of cooperation and fiscal prudence on the part of the union," said Abbott. "We want to make sure that the district remains in good fiscal health for years to come, and I really admire them for taking that step."


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