Ann Arbor voters favor changes to city pension board composition
Ann Arbor voters came out in favor of Proposal 3 on Tuesday's ballot, changing the makeup of the city's pension board, including removal of the city administrator.
With all precincts reporting, the proposal passed 7,977 to 3,729 (68.1 percent).
Governance of the city's retirement system is defined by the city charter and changing its composition requires voter approval of a city charter amendment.
At the heart of the concern was the independence of the board members. Of the nine current members, a majority are direct beneficiaries of the retirement system.
With the passage of Proposal 3, the board's makeup has been changed to include five appointed citizen trustees, one trustee elected by fire members, one trustee elected by police members, one trustee elected by general city members, and the chief financial officer. The general members are elected by a vote of active employees who are not in police or fire.
Previously, the board's composition included the city administrator, chief financial officer, three trustees appointed by the Ann Arbor City Council, two trustees elected by general city members, one trustee elected by fire members and one trustee elected by police members.
As of June 30, the city's pension system was 88 percent funded, compared to being 90.3 percent funded the year before and 126.8 percent funded in 2002.
The city's unfunded pension liability has grown to $57.6 million, up from $45.5 million a year ago — and significantly up from $1.7 million in 2008. City officials are hoping recent changes to retiree benefits will help the city chip away at that obligation.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.