Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lifetime Pension Still an Issue

When Dan Coody flip-flopped and decided to run for a third term as mayor, Marsha Melnichak spotted something amiss, and even the Northwest Arkansas Times could not overlook it. Dan Coody needed two more years in office to collect on the Guaranteed Benefit Lifetime Pension of at least $53,000 a year. Coody had considered running against Nancy Allen for City Council, which also would have counted toward his pension, but it would not have increased beyond the current level. With another term and another 28% salary increase, Coody would be in much better financial shape if he could get back in the mayor's office.

Performance of public employee retirement program investments have begun to raise concerns. The city currently pays more than $12,000 a year into Coody's Guaranteed Contribution retirement plan, but that is looking less attractive in these times of financial distress. The Guaranteed Benefit paid from city general revenues is becoming even more lucrative now.

In watching a rerun of the recent debate, the issue came up again. Coody has said he isn't interested in the guaranteed retirement benefit. He even called a second press conference to deny it. Some will believe him and take his word for it.

Lioneld Jordan, who has served on the City Council and is also running for mayor, has filed a notarized Affidavit with the City Clerk rejecting the guaranteed lifetime pension for which he would be eligible after two terms. That is straight up and considerably more binding than Dan Coody's unverified statement at one of his press conferences, something about as convincing as his press conference that he would not run for reelection to make himself eligible for the lifetime pension.

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