New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following audits and reports were issued during the week ending September 2, 2017
Source: Office of the State Comptroller
Click on text highlighted in color to access the full report
Town clerk pleads guilty to attempting to increase her ERS retirement benefits
On August 30, 2017, Springport Town Clerk Deborah Waldron pleaded guilty in Aurelius Town Court to official misconduct and attempted computer trespass, and agreed to resign for her attempts to boost her state retirement benefits by using a town computer, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.
Waldron, 62, a 25-year town employee, was initially charged in May following an investigation by the Comptroller, New York State Police and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s office. Her actions were exposed during the Comptroller’s review of Springport’s monthly retirement reports. When DiNapoli’s office re-calculated her actual hours and benefits, it prevented Waldron from receiving extra money she did not earn.
"This case is a warning to any public employee who falsifies retirement records: You are risking arrest and tarnishing your reputation," DiNapoli said. "I hope this case will deter others who attempt to defraud the New York State and Local Retirement System. I thank Cayuga County District Attorney Jon E. Budelmann for partnering with us to protect our retirement system."
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236. Review prior cases at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/investigations/index.htm.
Employer contributions on behalf of employees will decrease for the State's 2017-2018 fiscal year
Employer contribution rates for the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) in State Fiscal Year 2018-19 will decrease from State Fiscal Year 2017-18, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today.
The estimated average contribution rate for the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) will decrease from 15.3 percent of payroll to 14.9 percent of payroll. The estimated average contribution rate for the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) will decrease from 24.4 percent to 23.5 percent of payroll.
"We’ve had strong recent investment returns that have helped keep rates stable," DiNapoli said. "Stable rates are very important to our employers and provide the predictability they need to plan for their future budgets. Prudent management helps keep New York State’s pension fund one of the strongest and best funded in the country and allows our public workforce to retire with security."
The investment rate of return was 11.48 percent as of March 31, 2017, the end of the fiscal year for the state pension fund.
Employer rates are determined based on actuarial assumptions recommended by the Retirement System’s Actuary and approved by DiNapoli. A copy of the Actuary’s report can be found here.
In 2015, the Actuary conducted a review of the Systems’ economic and demographic experience for the prior five years. The Actuary proposed assumptions and methods for the actuarial valuations, which were adopted by DiNapoli. Based on that report, DiNapoli lowered the assumed rate of return in 2015 from 7.5 percent to 7 percent. The median assumed rate of return among public pension funds is 7.5, according to a February 2017 brief issued by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.
In 2012, DiNapoli began providing employers with access to a two-year projection of their annual pension bill six weeks earlier than in previous years. Employers use this projection for preparation of their local budgets.
Projections of required contributions vary by employer depending on factors such as retirement plans, salaries and the distribution of their employees among the six retirement tiers.
There are more than 3,000 participating employers in ERS and PFRS, and 335 different plan combinations.
Payments based on the new rates are due by Feb. 1, 2019, but may be pre-paid by Dec. 15, 2018.
In April, the Pew Charitable Trusts public policy foundation ranked New York’s pension system as the third best funded retirement system among states.
Read the report, or go to: http://osc.state.ny.us/retire/word_and_pdf_documents/reports/actuarial_assumption/aa_2017.pdf.
See a chart of historical employer contribution rates, visit: http://osc.state.ny.us/pension/images/emplyr_contribution_rates.pdf.