Memphis Watch dog Joe Saino knows more about Memphis finances than most of our citizens. He asks the questions, looks at the books and makes his conclusions. His website, MemphisShelbyInform.com, is probably the most intelligent analysis of how our money is allocated and spent.
Because of his knowledge and the immense financial challenges facing the city of Memphis he will be the next guest speaker at our Midtown Republican Club meeting Tuesday, February 4th.
In today’s Commercial Appeal he has a letter to the editor. Since not everyone gets or reads the newspaper I am quoting it.
Let us look at some comparisons between the city of Memphis and Shelby County governments.
Memphis has 6,020 active employees; Shelby County has 5,668. Memphis has 4,782 pensioners; Shelby County has 3,260. Memphis’ average annual pension payment per pensioner is $32,518; Shelby County’s is $19,218.
The problem is obvious. Memphis has 79 retirees for every 100 active employees. Shelby County has 57 retirees for every 100 active employees.
Memphis’ pension payout is 69 percent higher per retiree than Shelby County’s.
There are some obvious reasons, including the January 2001 pension resolution which allowed elected and appointed people to retire after 12 years, regardless of age. The number of line-of-duty disability retirees is 10 times higher than in county government, costing Memphis $12 million per year.
Rather than hire a third pension consultant (Jan. 8 article, “Panel backs outside pension expert”), I recommend that we have some retired county pensions experts compare the county’s pension ordinance and practices with the obviously loosey-goosey city system. We are paying for this expensive underfunded system. Let’s go to the people who did it better and find out what made the difference.