Your Retirement Advocate Since 1973
We are ARSCE – Active and Retired Seattle City Employees Association, with an emphasis on retired folks and their families and friends. We are the advocate for members of the Seattle Employee Retirement System, keeping an eye on actions at the local and state level which might affect us. And, we encourage retirees and active employees to keep in touch through our bi-monthly ARSCE News, and our quarterly luncheons. The News covers City Retirement System issues, and includes columns and articles by active and retired employees featuring everything from travel experiences to other employee get-togethers, to books and films, and to a variety of other items of interest to retirees. Please join us for our quarterly luncheons – a great chance to meet up with old friends and associates – and enjoy the ARSCE News, our bi-monthly publication. The News will keep you current on City Retirement System issues, and also includes columns and articles by active and retired employees featuring everything from travel experiences to other employee get-togethers, to books and films, and to a variety of other items of interest to retirees.
We maintain this website to provide users with information about ARSCE. You’ll find the ARSCE event calendar, information about membership and the luncheons, names and contact information for the officers, and a lot of documentation, including our Bylaws, past issues of the ARSCE News, and link stop other information sources of interest to retirees.
Enjoy this website, and if you are a current or retired City of Seattle employee, we hope you are a member or that you will consider becoming a member.
ARSCE President John Masterjohn’s update, November/December 2018:
Here we go again. Here I go again, writing this article about the Seattle Retirement System and some important things that are going to happen in the next two months from the date I am writing this.
Hopefully, you will get this [news] … prior to the general election which takes place on November 6th, 2018. It’s not my place to tell you who to vote for, but it is so important that we vote for candidates who support Social Security, Medicare and pensions.
Now some things about the Retirement System. The unfunded liability is about the same as last month at 69.2%. The year-end report is out. Here are some facts: at the end of 2017 there were 6,534 Retirees and Beneficiaries receiving benefits. In 2017 the Employer contributions increased $3.6 million and the members’ portion of the contributions to the plan increased by $1.9 million. The 2017 employee membership was 9,283 compared to 9,151 in 2016, so the City continues to hire. I’m not so sure about that now that the Mayor’s Budget was just released. The data clean-up of the pre-1996 records is going well and the staff are down to 200 records to finish from the original 1,000.
Just a reminder about our Christmas Luncheon at the West Seattle Golf Course on December 12th, 2018. You’ll find an application [on this website] … so fill it out as soon as possible so we can get a good count for our vendor. Speaking of luncheons, the last one at Famous Dave’s BBQ in Everett was well attended and the service and food were excellent.
Reminder: When you come to the Christmas Luncheon, be sure not to forget about the gift exchange; to get a gift you need to bring a gift (couples bring two gifts).
Now, I want to wish you all a great Thanksgiving and a Happy Holiday season.
I guess I can’t finish without a little travel log. Karen and I are staying home for the holidays this year again, but we will have ventured out to the Oregon coast and the Washington coast in October to play bridge and be with good friends.
Well that is all for now,
p.s. Short and sweet
Contact Mr. Masterjohn at email@example.com
Seattle Times reports on Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS)
The Seattle Times published a comprehensive report on the history and current status of SCERS on May 11, 2018, available here.
Former City Councilmember and Mayor Tim Burgess responded to the Seattle Times article on May 12, with this Facebook post.
A follow-up question-and-answer column was published May 16, available here.
SCERS issued a response to the Seattle Times article, available on its website.
ARSCE President John Masterjohn’s response to the Seattle Times article:
As you know, the Seattle Times newspaper published an article on the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS); I’m not sure why most of the paper’s focus took place 10 years ago or longer.
Make sure you read the article carefully, because all of the problems were prior to the current administration. If you read the response from Jeff Davis, the current Executive Director, you can see all the changes that were made since 2013 when Ken Nakatsu was appointed as the Executive Director. As the article states, when Ken came on board, the unfunded liability was around 52% and now it is at 71%. Jeff Davis and his staff have carried on where Ken left off, and they have done a great job; Jeff and Jason (Malinowski) were both on Ken’s staff.
You also can read former Mayor Tim Burgess’ response to the article on ARSCE’s Facebook page.
The main headline in the Seattle Times article was “Taxpayers Foot Bill for Fumbles in City Pension.” It goes on to say that City officials struck deals with City Unions to cap the employees’ contributions at 10%, but that the City also received some things they wanted in return. Also in the 1990s, some of the improvements included raising the floor on prior retirees to 60% of the cost of living and adding a yearly 1.5% COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) which was below the cost of living increase on a number of those years.
So remember, the people who were in charge of the system prior to June of 2013 were the ones who got the program into trouble. The changes that have been made since then have brought the system back to respectability.
As Jeff said in his answer to the Seattle Times, if you have questions just call the Retirement office. Well, I will close for now so this can get into our Facebook page and on our new website for your review.
(This statement appeared as the President’s Message in the July/August 2018 ARSCE News, p. 1).