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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, January/February 2019:

Can you believe it is 2019 already? How time flies when you get to be our age! (Yeah, yeah and having fun). So those of you who haven’t reached retirement age, start planning for it now. It does sneak up on you.

Now first of all, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and a happy Christmas and New Year. I also want to thank all who voted in the 2018 elections. There were so many close races and so many new people running, especially women.

I was pleased with a number of the results and hope the people who were elected think about us seniors. I think we need to hold their feet to the fire.

SCERS (Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System) has set 5 strategic planning goals in their continuing yearly work plan. They are:

  1. Financial strength
  2. Customer service
  3. Governance
  4. Internal staff cohesion
  5. Communication. This one is about communicating with the membership.

Their staff has been training for the new Pension Administration System (PAS). This will simplify the process for retirement, so the staff will have more time to deal with the membership. This portion of the new system will start January 2019. With the new PAS, staff will have the ability to send communications to targeted populations, and be able to show members, in real time, the impact different choices would have on their benefits.

I hope you had a chance to come to our December Christmas Luncheon. We always have a fun time and it is great to see everyone in the holiday spirit.

Well now for some travelog; couldn’t let you all go without it. So Karen and I stayed home for the holidays and most of the summer, but she has big plans for next year. One of her high school classmates lives in Mexico City; at their reunion she said we should come visit. So it looks like a week in Mexico City at the end of February, then on to Puerto Vallarta for a nice stay. So I will be taking up donations (just kidding).

Not a member of ARSCE yet? It’s so important to protect our retirement. Pensions are under constant attack. At ARSCE, we are vigilant to always be looking for ways to protect pensions for retirees and active employees looking forward to one in the future. We encourage you to join us today.

Well, that’s all for now,

John

Contact Mr. Masterjohn at president@arsce.org

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.

Your President,
John

(This statement appeared as the President’s Message in the July/August 2018 ARSCE News, p. 1).

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