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“There is something to fall back on,” Johnson said.  “And it is the taxpayer.”

The quotation is from Mark Johnson of Milliman & Robertson, the PERS actuary during an Oregon Investment Council meeting in 1995 in response to a question from Randall Pozdena Ph.D. in economics who had recently been appointed to the Council by then Governor John Kitzhaber.  During the meeting Pozdena told Johnson “the fund is less well-funded than it appears.”  Johnson then explained that “PERS had a safety valve if someday it can’t afford to meet the 8 percent guarantee: the rates charged to government agencies would be increased.”  To read the full article online click here.  To download the article click

For the Fiscal Years 2007/08 to 2010/11 Curry County (taxpayers) cost for PERS alone was approximately $5.5 million dollars according to records provided by the finance department. 


For the Fiscal Years 2010/11 to 2012/13 PERS and health insurance premiums totaled approximately $9 million dollars based on county Master Payroll records.


Effective July 1, 2013 the county will be required to contribute approximately 25 percent of gross payroll for each employee into PERS.  County paid health, dental and optical insurance premiums equal another 25 percent of gross payroll.


Health insurance per 100 employees equals $1,250,000 per year or$12,500 per employee.

PERS (average) per 100 employees equals $1,128,000 per year or $11,280 per employee.

(1) Offer employees health insurance coverage with a range of deductibles from low (higher premium) to higher (lower premium).  Obtain coverage which does not require premiums for both husband and wife if both are employed by the county.  Limit the county health insurance premium cost to $6,000 per year per employee. 


Savings per 100 employees equals $650,000 per year or $6,500 per employee.


2) Abandon PERS and union affiliation.  The result would be similar to recent department divestitures where employees do not forfeit any vested rights or balances in their respective PERS accounts.  The result: taxpayers do not continue footing the bill for prior generations of retirees.       


Savings per 100 employees equals approximately $1,128,000 per year or $11,280 per employee.


3) Adopt a 401 (k) type of pension plan and match employee contributions up to 10 percent of employee’s gross payroll. 


Cost per 100 employees (assuming all contribute maximum match limit) equals $450,000 per year or $4,500 per employee.


4) Reduce the number of sick days from 12 to 7 per year and eliminate accrual of un-used sick days.  Currently up to 180 sick days may be accrued.  Pay off all accrued sick days.  Current cost is unknown. 


Total estimated savings for recommendations 1, 2 and 3 per 100 employees equals $1,328,000 per year or $13,280 per employee.


5) County commissioners need to initiate a search (initially within Oregon) for a county manager/administrator and agree to work in a part time capacity.


6) There are about 115 county employees (Master Payroll) including 25 elected officials and managers.  If you remove the two largest well balanced departments (management to staff ratio) with 60 employees (Sheriff & Road Department) you are left with:


25 Elected Officials and managers overseeing approximately 18 county departments and 30 general staff resulting in an unfathomable low ratio of 1 manager to 1.2 staff.


There needs to be a major departmental consolidation including possibly subcontracting out departments.  For example: The County Clerk's office consists of the elected Clerk ($88,270 wage & benefit cost), an Elections Supervisor ($80,424), a Public Records Manager ($62,148) and a Deputy Clerk ($48,611) for an average cost of about $70,000 per employee.  The Computer Services Dept. consists of a Director ($101,005) and Deputy Director ($78,661) for an average cost of almost $90,000 per employee.




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