Governor Rick Snyder has created a Task Force on Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government to address the unfunded health care and pension liabilities associated with the 334 local governments that provide such benefits to their employees.
“My goal for this task force is to have collaboration among legislators, state and local government officials, and employee representatives to ensure the financial stability and effective delivery of local government services for the coming decades,” Mr. Snyder said in a statement announcing the Task Force. “As we discuss this growing financial problem across the state, it is imperative that we also keep retirees in mind who rely on these programs.”
The issue of health care and pension unfunded liabilities has become a major issue and came up during December’s lame duck agenda as a possible last-minute item to clear before the start of the new Legislature. But the complexity of the issue crumbled under its own weight, setting it for returning legislators as a priority for this term.
The task force – comprised of subject matter experts representing labor and management, investment managers, insurance financial professionals and legislators – was directed by Mr. Snyder to provide recommendations on pension and health care reforms this spring.
Mr. Snyder’s staff led a workgroup on the issue about a year ago, but the governor said in December he wanted to assemble a group with a broader array of members.
The task force members:
- Judy Allen, director of legislative affairs for the Michigan Townships Association;
- David Breen, retired managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP;
- Ben Carter, executive vice president and interim leader of East Group Operations for Trinity Health;
- Nick Ciaramitaro, director of legislation and public policy for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25;
- Mark Cook, vice president of governmental affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan;
- Steve Currie, executive director of the Michigan Association of Counties;
- Bob Daddow, deputy Oakland County executive;
- Chris DeRose, CEO of the Municipal Employees Retirement System;
- Mark Docherty, president of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union;
- Ken Grabowski, legislative director of the Police Officers Association of Michigan;
- Dave Hiller, executive director of the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police;
- Tony Minghine, associate director and chief operating officer of the Michigan Municipal League;
- Mike Sauger, president of the Michigan Association of Police Organizations;
- Mary Schulz, associate director for the Michigan State University Extension Center for Local Government;
- Michael VanOverbeke, founding partner of VanOverbeke, Michaud and Timmony PC;
- Burton Mayor Paula Zelenko, who served in the House from 2001-06;
- Rep. Tom Albert (R-Belding);
- Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing);
- Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland); and
- Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor).
Serving as co-chairs are Mr. Breen and Mr. Carter.
Serving as ex-officio members are Treasurer Nick Khouri, Insurance and Financial Services Director Pat McPharlin and John Walsh, Mr. Snyder’s director of strategic policy.
Credit for this story goes to Gongwer News Service.