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Category: Pensions

June
17th

Former Wash. state investment leader Joe Dear stepping back from California pension system role

Joe Dear, the former aide to then-Gov. Gary Locke and later executive leader of the Washington State Investment Board, is in the news for less than happy reasons. Bloomberg reported over the weekend that prostate cancer has forced Dear, executive leader of the California pension system, to step back from his day-to-day role managing the largest pension system in the country.

Dear, 62, is chief investment officer at CalPERS and continues to work from home, according to Bloomberg’s report.

Dear hsd roots and enjoyed a public profile in Olympia as a graduate of The Evergreen

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April
25th

Senate passes 401(k)-style pension option for new state employees; current workers could opt in

A controversial plan to let future state employees opt into a 401(k) style pension plans – instead of fixed-payment pensions that most receive today – won passage in the state Senate by a narrow vote of 25 to 22 on Thursday.

Senate Bill 5851 also lets existing members in state-run Plans 2 and 3 to make an irrevocable switch into the new option – dubbed the Public Employee Savings Plan – in early 2015.

Republican Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn was among those voting for the bill. But Roach first won passage of an amendment to let new

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March
22nd

State treasurer adds voice in opposition to pension changes that could put more workers in 401(k)-style plans

State Treasurer Jim McIntire is lining up with many of his fellow Democrats in opposition to a Senate plan to alter Washington’s state-government pensions. McIntire voiced his opposition to using a 401(k) or defined contribution plan in an op-ed column Friday in the Seattle Times.

One proposal from Republican Sen. Barbara Bailey is voluntary, letting new state hires opt in if they prefer to go to the more flexible approach that offers fewer guarantees in old age. But McIntire argues there is no problem to solve and that employees are not demanding the new option:

If

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Feb.
28th

Senate Republicans move ‘lite’ version of state worker pension reform; wellness and contracting out bills also OK’d by budget committee

Facing a deadline this week for passing fiscal bills, the Senate Ways and Means Committee gave approval early Thursday evening to three proposals opposed by state-employee groups.

One proposal, Senate Bill 5851, gives new state employees the option of entering into a 401(k)-style retirement plan, called the Washington Public Employees Savings Plan.

Offered by Republican Sen. Barbara Bailey of Oak Harbor, the concept appears to be a lighter, kinder version of the one pushed by Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, who wants  to force new hires and current state employees younger than 45 into defined contribution

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Feb.
26th

Sen. Tom’s pension idea emerges as potential Senate trading card for K-12 education taxes

It’s still early in this year’s 105 day session at the Washington state Capitol. But it’s not too early to point out again that the Republican-dominated coalition in charge of the Senate is passing bills that could be valuable trading cards late in session when serious discussions of raising new revenues for K-12 public schools get going in earnest.

Until yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom and members of his Majority Coalition Caucus have been singularly hostile toward taxes. But as we reported here today, Tom’s  proposal to end fixed-payment pensions for state worker younger than 45 took a beating in the Monday

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Feb.
25th

New proposal would end fixed-benefit pensions for younger state workers; unions fighting back at hearing today

A new pension proposal from Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom would use a 401(k)-style benefit option for certain Washington state employees younger than 45 years of age. Senate Bill 5856 gets a hearing at 1:30 p.m. today in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and the Washington Federation of State Employees began denouncing the proposal in an alert to members late Saturday.

The proposal by Tom, a fiscally conservative Democrat from the wealthy enclave Medina, appears to go further than a plan

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Feb.
5th

House committee votes to patch its 2011 reform meant to end abuses in ex-Gov. Locke’s 2001 ‘retire-rehire’ law

A House budget committee gave its unanimous blessings  Tuesday to a bill that cleans up small errors in a Washington state pension reform bill passed in 2011. The original reform, House Bill 1981, had reined in abuses of a so-called “retire-rehire” law that was intended by then-Gov. Gary Locke in 2001 to retain key school personnel who were near retirement age.

The Locke-era bill had let them collect retirement benefits after returning to the job.

The sweeping reform bill passed two years ago was meant to end abuses of the early-retirement option. But it had drafting errors that kept some

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