Just got back from the last meeting of the Pension Reform Commission, where they declined to decide which of their proposals (now complete with cost estimates) to recommend to the Legislature.
It’s a pretty unsatisfying outcome to a process that promised, at one point, to provide a cost-neutral set of recommendations to the Legislature. However, a close reading of their enabling statute shows that their were entitled to conduct a study and not make recommendations.
An interesting subtext to this discussion is the primary public source of conflict on the commission — between PERAC and the Board chair (previously mentioned here). I encourage you to give PERAC’s costing analysis a close read. To paraphrase a colleague, there are plenty of “hurt words” about various proposals in the Commission’s report:
“it is not accurate to state, as does the [Commission] report…”
“This is the opposite of how a good plan design process should work.”
“Again, plan design has not been considered.”
“I do not agree with such an approach.”
“This idea should not merit any serious consideration.”
The odd part of this comes from the position of the two disputants. PERAC is governed by a board where the Governor appoints three of the six members (and the six members appoint a seventh). And the Pension Reform Commission chair was appointed by the Governor as well.
So, given that the Governor has put forward pension reform as one of the main pillars of his reform agenda, why can’t the folks within his sphere of influence get on the same page? How much leadership has he been exercising?