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NSFD looks at post employment benefits

Estimated liability of $22.2 million needs funding plan, adviser says

June 12, 2012

The North Shore Fire Department Finance Committee created a subcommittee to study the department's growing post employment benefit liability Tuesday morning.

According to independent auditor John Knepel, who presented a financial report for 2011, NSFD's net post employment benefit liability was approximately $5.8 million, up from $3.9 million in 2010. Drawn out over time, NSFD's liability for all benefits accrued by employees totals approximately $22.2 million.

"It's a bitter pill," Knepel told the committee, "but you should have a plan."

The subcommittee is comprised of Whitefish Bay Village Manager Patrick DeGrave, Glendale City Administrator Richard Maslowski, and River Hills Village President Robert Brunner.

Their job will be to explore NSFD's options when it comes to the post employment benefit plan, and recommend whether to pay benefits over time as required or put money away every year to pay the annual required contribution - an amount which would fully cover benefit liabilities over time if paid every year, as determined by actuarial studies.

"I just want to be clear, if I'm going to be sitting on a subcommittee," DeGrave said, "that the goal isn't necessarily find a way to fully fund the liability."

"Even those (organizations) that don't set up a trust are hard pressed to fund their annual required contribution," Knepel said.

The subcommittee will meet and gather information going forward, but will have more information to work with after a new actuarial report on the benefit comes out in the fall.

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