Want to read a story that is becoming more and more commonplace in Kentucky?
Money for the employees’ retirement fund at the Cumberland Valley District Health Department has not been paid in two months.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office confirms they have received at least one complaint.
Harlan County Health Department employees, who would not talk on camera, say money is coming out of their paychecks for retirement, but the money is not going into their retirement fund.
“So the health district has apparently not paid up the retirement plans. I don’t know exactly what this means,” said Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop.
John Cheves had a similar story last summer:
At Kentucky River Community Care in Jackson, for example, the agency last year fired “almost its entire staff,” more than 400 employees who had been eligible for state pensions that required employer contributions, according to a lawsuit filed by KRS. The agency immediately rehired them through a company it had formed months earlier, Go-Hire Employment and Development, and Kentucky River continues to direct their daily activities, according to the suit.
Go-Hire offers the employees 401(k) defined-contribution retirement plans, but it’s not part of KRS and does not provide state pensions. Just weeks before the switch, Kentucky River’s executive director, Louise Howell, who made $240,182 in 2010, retired while her agency still was in the pension system, according to public records.
As a matter of fairness, he said, if KRS must support a public employer’s retirees, then the employer should stay and help. Kentucky River left about 70 retirees in the system when it quit. They are entitled to pensions and health care coverage for the rest of their lives. With Kentucky River no longer contributing, other employers in the system — all funded by taxpayers — will have to make up the difference, Thielen said.
Given how bad things are at Kentucky Retirement Systems, it’s no wonder organizations are holding back payments.
It’s almost as if the KRS has lost all credibility. Otherwise, just not paying into the KRS wouldn’t have seemed acceptable.