Juicy Pensions in Winnipeg

July 5, 2011

They are making some very juicy employee compensation in Winnipeg. 

The Free Press is providing good coverage on comp issues.

Here are a couple of questions for you regarding the line-up mentioned in the Free Press, of overtime, sick pay cash-out, vacation pay cash-out, retroactive pay on general increases, severance pay, retirement allowance or a promotion.

1) The city has a very well funded pensions plan with an average of $326,950 in it for each plan member. The average RRSP for Canadians is $60,000. What is the contribution stabilization reserve fund the city uses to fund about 30% of the pension? If the pensions is in place how come all the extra goodies that will cost city taxpayers $145 million in the future?

Balance sheet Note 11 – 2010 Annual Report – $145 million for Retirement allowance, vacation, etc.
http://www.winnipeg.ca/finance/files/2010AnnualReport.pdf – Page 46

2) Does the pension use overtime in the calculation for pensions? The pension site is very poor with limited information locked up behind the firewall. 

3) Are vacation time, retirement allowance and sick cash payouts eligible for pension calculations? Are all three of these paid out at retirement. I would have thought a taxpayer funded pension would be sufficient why all the other termination goodies as well?

4) Does the city use a SERP pension to provide a full 70% pension to all employees or is there a cap? For example, Webster retired last year with $245,597, most of this was probably windfall. How much is his 70% pension worth.

5) Has there been any discussion about raising the retirement age for retirees? Police retire as early as age 50. What is the average retiring pension?

6) A few years back there was an audit of overtime at Winnipeg city hall that showed the senior employees of police and other departments were eating up large amounts of overtime Was this for pension boosting or spiking purposes?

This is big list and would take a bit of digging. It is a situation like this that pension disclosure would benefit taxpayers. 

A few key questions to get fast answers is to ask city hall that can quickly pin point any abuses would be:

1) What were the average pensions paid out last year? What salary were they based on? What was the average age of the employee getting the pension? 

2) What were the top 10 benefits paid out last year for:

Retirement allowances?

Sick time payouts?

Vacation time payouts?

Lastly what will be the effect of changing the portion of tax free salary that councilors receive? Will this give them a big pension boost?

It will be interesting to see if there is any response to these issues and what the facts and figures truly disclose

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