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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Time is money in retirement system fix

The Portsmouth Herald has a good grasp of the problems facing the New Hampshire Retirement System. Simply put, "This retirement package is not sustainable and far more generous than public workers receive in many other states, including Maine and Vermont."
August 21, 2009 6:00 AM

Remember Dick Ingram, former president of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce?

After a brief stint at The Housing Partnership in Portsmouth, he has become executive director of the New Hampshire Retirement System. If you want to know if that's an easy or tough job, consider this: Ingram is the fifth executive director in the past 24 months.

The NHRS is the pension system for all state workers and most teachers, government employees, police and firefighters. At this time, there are 52,000 active members and 23,000 retirees. While the retirement system is fiscally sound for now, if it doesn't change its policies soon, particularly for police and firefighters, it projects an unfunded liability of $3.4 billion.

This is where Ingram's job gets tough. He can see the problem and make recommendations to fix it, but he doesn't actually have the power to make substantive changes needed to bring pension revenues in line with expenses. That power belongs to the New Hampshire Legislature, which did very little in this last legislative session to bring long-term expenses under control. (more)

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