City of Cincinnati looks at retirement benefits

Posted by Trina Kinstler - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati's council chambers were packed Monday with current and retired city workers, worried about their pensions and health benefits.

The crowd wanted to hear council's options for keeping the pension fund solvent, even though it's already lost a billion dollars this year.

Council members discussed several ideas to save it, like reducing health benefits.

"And the rule that I'm proposing is that anyone who retires if they or their spouse are re-employed then they would be required to use the health care available to them at their new employer," said councilmember John Cranley.

But former councilmember Charlie Winburn says a solution will take much more than shifting health benefits.

He called the pension "a disaster," and blames underfunding.

"We basically got to this point because the council refused to do what the code indicated that they should do is to pay their 34 percent required annual contribution every year," said Winburn.

But city managers say the pension fund currently has enough assets to cover nine years of payments, while they look for ways to keep it going.