G.I. Council Approves Retirement Changes - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

G.I. Council Approves Retirement Changes

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A vote postponed two weeks ago quickly passed at a Grand Island City Council special meeting Monday.

The council postponed the vote to give the fire and police pension committee more time to review changes to a 120-page plan. Amendments to the pensions plans and trusts need to be approved every five years to comply with the latest state and federal regulations.

"I was glad to see that they had an opportunity to review it, that whatever questions they may have had were asked and answered and that they support it tonight. I think that was what we were looking for, so I appreciate that," said Council President Chuck Haase.

G.I. City Finance Director Jaye Monter said both fire and police representatives approved the changes.

"The big highlight that actually amended the plan most was the increase in the police officer's pension contribution," she said. "Starting October 1 of this year we increased the police pension contribution to 6.5 percent. It was 6 percent and it'll increase again next year, I believe, to 7 percent."

But, not up for discussion was who will be appointed to the pension committee.

Mayor Jay Vavricek's pick was rejected at the last meeting. Many council members asked that the non-plan participant be on the council.

"The mayor is still looking for a representative to appoint to that committee," said Monter.

Also, there was no talk Monday of the controversial annuity calculations that were the center of a lawsuit filed by former police Captain Pete Kortum.

State law says those calculations must be gender-neutral, but the city says it's impossible to find anything but gender specific figures.

Monter said it's an issue the council will have to take up, but not before the next retirement.

"As soon as we get the next person, [hired] pre-1984 that does retire, we'll be faced with that question again," she said.

Until then, the Finance Department is using gender-specific calculations, as directed by the council.

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