Engler Accepts Report from Commission on Public Pension and Retiree Health Benefits

Contact: John Truscott (517) 335-6397

Governor John Engler today accepted the report compiled by the Commission on Public Pension and Retiree Health Benefits. Engler created the nine-member Commission in December of 1999 by executive order to review state laws that govern or affect the funding, management, oversight and fiscal integrity of public pension and retirement systems.

"I'd like to thank commission chairman Ambassador Peter Secchia and the commission members for their thorough and thoughtful report," said Governor Engler. "They have provided valuable recommendations to improve public pension systems that protect employees and taxpayers."

"I believe our recommendations when implemented will go a long way toward protecting the public employees and taxpayers of the state," said Ambassador Secchia "I was honored to serve with the members of this Commission – they did a great job."

The Commission met throughout 2000, holding a number of meetings. It received input from dozens of employer groups, employee groups, unions, actuaries, pension consultants, state legislators and others.

In its report, the Commission made 20 recommendations that, if implemented, will make Michigan's public sector employees' retirements more safe and secure, while at the same time protecting the interests of taxpayers.

Key findings and recommendations include the following:
  • Because participants and the public often have little insight or understanding about government retirement systems, an easy-to-understand retirement plan "report card" should be created and published.
  • The state should increase penalties for government units that fail to meet their responsibilities.
  • The vast majority of state and local pension systems in Michigan appear to be adequately funded at this time to meet the needs of the future. Most funds are well managed, with several already fully funded.
  • The state should take steps to prevent possible abuses.
  • Post-retirement health care benefit issues need further examination.

The Commission's report will be available later today on the Department of Treasury's web site: www.treasury.state.mi.us.