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City of Atlanta

Police Officers’ Pension Fund


TRUSTEE NEWSLETTER May 1, 2002

Welcome to the SEVENTH edition of the Police Officers’ Pension Fund


Trustee Newsletter.
Editor: Louis Arcangeli, Pension Board Vice Chairman
-

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN


Dear Officers and Retirees;
Our next breakfast meetings will be
You are always invited to attend the held June 8 and August 10, 2002
meetings of the Police Pension starting at 8:00 AM at the Golden
Fund Board. The next meeting is Corral, Hwy 138 at I-675 in
scheduled for Tuesday, May 14, McDonough. All officers, active and
2002, at 9:30 AM, rm 2550 of City retired, are invited!
Hall.
We congratulate City Council Member
RETIREE BREAKFASTS: Cleta Winslow on her re-election to
The Southside group of Atlanta City Council. We also welcome
Police Retirees meets at 8:00 AM Councilmember Winslow to her fourth
the SECOND Saturday of every year as a Police Officers Pension Fund
EVEN numbered month. All retired Trustee in 2002 as Mayor Shirley
and active police officers are Franklin’s City Council appointee.
welcome.
This Pension Fund Newsletter and
recent editions are available online at
www.IBPOLOCAL623.org.

Lieutenant Don Lee


(Retired)
Board Chairman
~~~~~

Proposed Ordinance 02-O-0037 (Full Salary for


Catastrophic Disability)
Life doesn’t get cheaper when you are in a wheelchair- it gets more expensive…and
there are no extra jobs! Please help APD’s retired officers with catastrophic
disabilities by writing and speaking in support of this proposed ordinance.

Lou Arcangeli
~

Atlanta Police Officers’ Pension Fund Asset Allocation by Market Value: 12-31-01
Fixed Income 49%

$
Large Cap Equity 23%
Mid Cap Equity 10%
Small Cap Equity 9%
International Equity 8%
Cash 1%
Note: Market values are rounded – Specific information regarding asset allocation, fund portfolio performance, etc.
is presented at each pension board meeting by Mr. Bob Reiser and Mr. Don McGowan of Ballentine & Company.
GUARDIAN ANGELS: Please extend our heartfelt gratitude to
Monsignor Dillon of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, the 300
Club and Past President A. B. Martin, and the Gold Shield
Notes Foundation for stepping forward and helping catastrophically
injured retired Sergeant Ryan Phinney. We owe a debt of
From gratitude to the members of these associations and to
everyone who has helped our injured officers. We should not
The have to seek outside financial support for our seriously injured
officers, but what would have happened if the “guardian
Vice- angels” mentioned here had not stepped forward to help an
injured officer in need? Please consider what Ryan Phinney
Chair: faces each month knowing that he has $1,700 to make the
monthly bills. At age 55 that amount will be reduced by 25%!
Remember that this is our current law.
Dear Fellow Atlanta Police Officers:
On a positive note Ryan is doing much better financially in
THE MONEY: First things first. The Police Officers Pension
2002. He works from his apartment in his new job as a
Fund investments are secure, with over $403,000,000 in cash
computer programmer now that restrictions on employment
and diversified stocks and bonds. During a period when many
were lifted by an ordinance that passed in 2001. I am very
other pension funds lost money, our investments earned 0.6%
proud of initiating the ordinance that allows Ryan Phinney and
in the 2001 stock market. See page 8 for a summary of our
Patricia Cocciolone to obtain work without losing their meager
asset allocation.
1986 plan police pensions. My thanks to Cathy Woolard,
Robb Pitts, Michael Bond, and to everyone who worked to
THE AUDIT: An audit of the Police Officers’ Pension Fund
pass the ordinance.
approved by the Pension Fund Trustees started last month.
See the Rumor Control column for details.
THE WORK MUST CONTINUE IN 2002: City Council
Member Felicia Moore has delivered on her promise to
ORDINANCE TO HELP DISABLED COPS FAILS: Some bad
sponsor the catastrophic disability provisions in 2002.
news from last year was that the proposed ordinance (01-O-
Councilmember Moore introduced ordinance 02-O-0037 in
0909) to provide full salary for catastrophic disability FAILED.
the first meeting of the new Council, and it is currently
Richard Straut of the PBA, Chris Leighty of the IBPO, Kelan
being held in the Finance/Executive committee. Only four
Evans of the Firefighters union, as well as catastrophically
disabled officers would meet the strict definition of catastrophic
injured officers Pat Cocciolone, Ryan Phinney and Richard
disability, and I am not aware of any fire or general pension
Williams all attended the Finance Committee meeting
members who would meet the strict criteria of this ordinance.
November 14, 2001. Trustee Jim Rose delivered an eloquent
and moving statement to Council that had several of them (and
Please thank Council Member Felicia Moore for sponsoring
us) in tears, but according to Finance, the money was not
this legislation and supporting APD!
available.
For a safe Atlanta;
The most important issue regarding our pension in recent
years has been the unacceptable and deplorable treatment of
our catastrophically disabled officers.
Louis Arcangeli, Captain
Please take a moment to read Ryan Phinney’s letter to City
Pension Board Trustee
Council on page 4. We owe it to one another to insure that the
404-853-4492 E-mail:larcangeli@yahoo.com
financial tragedy that struck Officer Phinney never, never,
never happens again!

Atlanta Police Department Pension Plan


Early Retirement Age Penalty
Normal retirement for sworn police officers and firefighters is 55 years of age.
There is an early retirement penalty assessed when an officer retires before their 55th birthday.
The charts below provide an estimate of the pension benefit penalty based on an officer’s age.
Note that the early retirement penalty is higher for officers age 50-54 who were hired AFTER 1978 (see chart).
For additional information and specific pension calculation information refer to the pamphlet distributed by Employee Benefits:
”Your Pension Benefits from The City of Atlanta and Atlanta Board of Education”. (Pages 9-14) Lou Arcangeli

APPROXIMATE Pension Penalty For Retirement Before Age 55


Age 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
% Penalty for OFFICERS HIRED
BEFORE 3-31-1978 36% 33% 0% 0%
15% 12% 9% 6% 3%
% Penalty for OFFICERS HIRED
AFTER 4-1-1978 36% 33% 0% 0%
30% 24% 18% 12% 6%

Police Officers’ Pension Fund Trustee Newsletter. Editor: Louis Arcangeli, Pension Board Trustee 2
Source: 1978 Pension Ordinance and employee benefits handbook.
*

A RECENT LETTER FROM CATASTROPHIC DISABILITY RETIREEE RYAN PHINNEY


TO COUNCILMEMBER C. T. MARTIN.

Police Officers’ Pension Fund Trustee Newsletter. Editor: Louis Arcangeli, Pension Board Trustee 3
November 9, 2001 Outside of my family, these were the I will gladly meet with any City
first people to help me stay afloat Councilperson interested in learning of
Council Member C. T. Martin financially, and I don’t know what I the hardships and difficulties faced by
Atlanta City Council would have done to keep my catastrophically injured officers through
55 Trinity Avenue apartment without them. my own personal experiences. Please
Atlanta, Georgia, 30335 feel free to contact me at any time so
The Finance/Executive Committee that I can answer any questions you
Dear Council Member C. T. Martin: will consider proposed ordinance 01- may have.
O-0909 next Wednesday. This
My name is Ryan P. Phinney. I retired proposal will not make the difference If anyone understands not having
from the Atlanta Police Department in between me being rich or poor. enough money to take care of my
1993 under the 1986 City of Atlanta Whether or not it passes, I will still be family, I do. It compels me to ask where
disability provisions following a line- poor. The difference this change will do Police Officers and Fire Fighters fit
of-duty injury that left me permanently make is whether or not I am poor and in the priorities of the City?
paralyzed below my ribcage. self-supporting, or poor and continue
to be a charitable cause. Your forthcoming decisions will be a
My spinal cord injury is permanent. statement about the priorities of Atlanta,
There is no medical treatment, and Every police officer in the city swears and I ask you to please consider
no chance of any recovery. I will an oath, and undertakes a duty to supporting Atlanta’s Public Safety
remain paralyzed for the rest of my protect the citizens of this city, with Employees by voting for 01-O-0909.
life. Due to a recent ordinance I can their lives or bodies if necessary. I
now return to work without losing my believe that, in asking them to take Sincerely,
benefits, and I thank and applaud the that risk, the City has a duty to them,
City Council for correcting that to protect them from financial ruin if
injustice. However, that does not they should become injured. The
address the issue of police officers police have done their duty, and are
that are not capable of returning to still doing it every day. It’s time the
work. In many ways, I am lucky, since City Government did its duty to them.
I only lost the use of my lower body. I have appeared before the
There are several officers whose committee twice now, and will be
injuries are worse than mine, and we there again on Wednesday,
all need your help. November 14, 2001.

I am writing to you today to beg for Councilmember Martin, by supporting


money so that I can feed my family. It ordinance 01-O-0909 you will have
doesn’t bother me much, because I the power to address this injustice. It Sergeant (Honorary) Ryan Phinney
have been forced to do that for the is much more expensive to live in a Retired, Atlanta Police Department
past 12 years of my life. I don’t want wheelchair, and the $907 I receive ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
you to feel sorry for me. I want you to each month after taxes and insurance EDITOR’S NOTES:
be angry. I want you to be angry that from the City of Atlanta is not enough 1. The proposed City Ordinance to
this injustice ever occurred in the first to live on. I appreciate that the increase the benefits to catastrophically
place. I want you to be angry that it Council has difficulty finding the injured APD officers Ryan Phinney and
has gone on for 15 years. I want you money, and perhaps some people will Patricia Cocciolone DID NOT pass in
to be angry that officers injured in be angry if a project is cut short to 2001. A new ordinance (02-O-0037)
service to the City of Atlanta cannot pay for this. Doing the right thing may has been introduced by
survive without charity. God bless not be easy, but it is worth doing. Councilmember Felicia Moore and is
Monsignor Dillon of the Holy Spirit Please look into this and support 01- currently being held in the Finance
Catholic Church and Mr. A. B. Martin O-0909. Committee.
2. The above photo of Ryan is from 1987,
of the 300 Club who have helped me
a year before his injury.
recently. Lou Arcangeli

‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘

Police Officers Pension Fund Contributions since


1990

Police Officers’ Pension Fund Trustee Newsletter. Editor: Louis Arcangeli, Pension Board Trustee 4
(Percent of pay contributed to pension)

City of Atlanta Officer Contributions


30.0%
25.3%
23.3%
21.31% 21.30% 22.08%
20.7% 20.00%
20.0%

10.0%
6.8% 6.8% 6.8% 6.8% 6.8%
3.8% 3.8%

0.0%
1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002

City of Atlanta 25.3% 23.3% 20.7% 20.00% 21.31% 21.30% 22.08%


Officer Contributions 3.8% 3.8% 6.8% 6.8% 6.8% 6.8% 6.8%

* Since 1994 officers with dependents contribute 7% of salary to the pension fund.

For City of Atlanta Pension Benefit Information call 404-330-6260.


Considering retirement? Have a pension question? Retired and need information about your insurance?
Employees of the Division of Employee Benefits can answer your questions. Call 404-330-6260.

Police Pens ion Fund Inf or mati on:


Current Elected Trustees Past Elected Trustees
Don Lee 1986-2004 Chairman Bud Watson Ken Cullifer
Lou Arcangeli 1999-2002 Vice-Chair(term expires Lee New E. V. Forrester
December 2002) Jim Mullins George Weaver
Jim Rose 2000-2004 Lamar Harris R. M. Lane
How many officers retire each year?
Since 1994, an average of 40 officers retired with service pensions each year.
In 2001, there were 44 service pensions and 4 non-line-of-duty disability pensions.

INFORMATION ON POLICE RETIREES IN THE FIRST 4 MONTHS OF 2002


 Four have taken full service pensions.
 Three have taken early retirement.
 The average age of service pensioners in 2002 is 53.5 years of age.
 The average age of officers taking early retirement was 40, with a $970 month benefit.
 Average length of service for early retirement was 17 years.
 Average length of service for regular service pensions is 25 years.

1994 2000 2002


Police pension fund members 1615 1453 1490
Number of retirees/beneficiaries 650 1013 976

RUMOR CONTROL Edi ted by Ca ptai n Lou Ar cange li

Police Officers’ Pension Fund Trustee Newsletter. Editor: Louis Arcangeli, Pension Board Trustee 5
RUMOR: An “Early Retirement” has been proposed for police officers. FALSE
FACT: No early retirement plan has been proposed by City Council for sworn police officers.

RUMOR: No improvements are being considered to current age penalties for early retirement. TRUE
FACT: We have discussed the feasibility of a new pension ordinance that could address the age penalty disparity
and proposals to improve catastrophic injury compensation with several City officials. All have
said that given the current fiscal crisis there is no chance that these issues will be considered in 2002.

RUMOR: Will the 3% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for pensioners be eliminated? I DON’T KNOW.
FACT: The COLA is defined by the 1978 pension ordinance, and while it is called the “3% COLA”, it is based
on the annual Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, and is a maximum of 3% per year.

I understand that the City is exploring every available way to save money, but we would be shocked and
disappointed if any pension provisions were reduced. As Atlanta’s police pension plan age penalty
provisions and rate of contribution have not kept pace with surrounding jurisdictions, to take a step
backward now would be very counterproductive to efforts to attract and retain police officers.

The COLA provisions of the pension are defined by city pordinance, therefore any change would have to
be Sponsored by a Councilmember, introduced to City Council, be reviewed and approved by the
Finance/Executive Committee, be forwarded to the Pension Boards for review, returned to Council for a
full vote, then signed by the Mayor. If any change to the pension code of ordinances is submitted I will do
my best to keep you informed. Note that the Police Officers Pension Board of Trustees cannot pass or
veto any changes to the pension. All changes to the pension code are reviewed by the City’s three
pension boards, and their respective position forwarded to Council. In the past three years we have
addressed City Council committees on several occasions to speak for or against proposed ordinances.

RUMOR: Officers were able to carry ALL accrued vacation time (up to 70 days) into 2002. TRUE
FACT: City Council approved an ordinance that allowed any employee who was unable to use vacation time
above the 45 day maximum carryover in 2001 to carry that time over into 2002. The stipulation is that the
days “carried over” can only be used as vacation time off. This means that if the 12 hour shifts we
worked following the September 11 acts of war against America prevented you from using vacation time in
2001, and you had a surplus beyond the maximum carry over, you will be allowed to use those vacations
days either in 2002 or in 2003! For additional information see City Ordinance 01-O-0175.

RUMOR: The Pension Fund is being audited. TRUE: The Pension Board voted unanimously for this audit.
FACT: Given past financial improprieties, the 2001 criminal fraud conviction of a former finance department
Employee, and increase in administrative costs, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to hire the highly
respected accounting firm of Banks, Finley and White to conduct a limited audit of the Police Officers’
Pension Fund. We commissioned this audit to fulfill our fiduciary responsibilities and to support Mayor
Franklin as she works to restore confidence in Atlanta’s finances. The results of the audit will be
presented to the July meeting of the trustees, and I will report on the findings in a future newsletter. I can
report that the pension fund is secure, retirees are receiving their annual cost of living adjustment
(COLA) of 3% for this year, and the Police Pension met all reporting requirements in 2001.

NOTE: These facts and opinions represent my best efforts to explain these complicated issues. Please call me if there is a rumor
you would like to have confirmed, denied or clarified. Also call me if you are aware of any errors or mis-statements in this
newsletter, I invite you to call me with your corrections, input and suggestions. Captain Lou Arcangeli

PENSION ESTIMATE PROCEDURE CHANGE


The Fund Trustees have been concerned with recent increases in administrative costs. To reduce these costs, all requests for pension calculations
must be submitted in writing to the Bureau of Employee benefits, with only one request per six-month period. The Employee Benefits staff was
receiving multiple requests for calculations from a small number of officers. To assist the staff the Board voted to make this process more formal.
When you approach retirement and require this information please submit your written request at least 45 days before retirement to the Bureau of
Employee Benefits, Attention Ray Adams, Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30335. The Atlanta Police Department Personnel office
on the 4th floor of City Hall East must also be notified of your proposed retirement date within 30 days of your retirement.

For your information:

Police Officers’ Pension Fund Trustee Newsletter. Editor: Louis Arcangeli, Pension Board Trustee 6
Your pension is based on your highest three years average salary: Several Metro Atlanta police
salaries are compared below:

Police Officer Salary Comparison


$50,856
$50,000 $48,110 $48,309

$44,262
$45,000

$40,000 DeKalb Fulton


Cobb
Salary

Atlanta
$35,000 $32,783 $32,073 $32,172 $32,000

$30,000
Fulton
$25,000 Atlanta Cobb DeKalb

$20,000

Starting Pay Top Pay


Note: Relative comparisons are difficult across jurisdictions due to variations in pay and personnel practices: For example the 7% pension
contributions by Atlanta Officers significantly reduces their take home pay compared to other departments. Other variables not reported here
include but are not limited to college incentive pay, longevity pay, cost of health insurance, lateral entry for experienced officers, etc.
Sources: Fulton http://www.co.fulton.ga.us L. Arcangeli
Atlanta http://www.atlantapd.org/careers/moreinfo.htm 05-1-2002
DeKalb http://www.dekalbpubsafety.com/police/employment/pay&benefits.htm
Cobb http://www.cobbpolice.com/benefits.htm

Police Officers’ Pension Fund Trustee Newsletter. Editor: Louis Arcangeli, Pension Board Trustee 7