continued “You have done some very good cost-cutting measures, but unfortunately you don’t show it,” he said. “You’ve made some changes, you’ve made some good changes. But you don’t show what you’ve cut out of entitlements by department.”
Resident Ken Wagner asked if there is anything that municipalities can do, similar to what is being done in the private sector, to separate from the state’s retirement process — for instance, moving to a 401K system that puts retirement options in the hands of employees.
“The risk — the swing — is huge,” he said. “What industry has done is [to say,] ‘We’ll sweeten up the 401K, it’s yours … you want to put it in bonds, you want to put it in gold, you want to put it in dirt, we don’t care.’ Is that something that the towns can explore? Or are there state regulations that prohibit it?”
“It’s the Constitution,” said Town Attorney Tim Frateschi. “Under the Constitution of the State of New York, there is a defined pension plan that the state allows all of its workers.”
But the Constitution focuses on not reducing people’s pensions, he said, meaning there is room for discussion when it comes to what pension plans employees receive.
“When you get your pension it cannot be reduced under the Constitution,” he said.” Going forward, there has been a great deal of discussion [by the mayor of Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and Yonkers]. Everybody’s talking about pension reform, giving the localities the flexibility to create their own pension plans.”