County Board Pays for Retire-Rehire Advice

The Marquette County Board has been debating the retire–rehire system for county employees since 2008.

The board eliminated the system last year but allowed people currently in the program to continue with it.

But there are still concerns about those employees still within the program and the effect they have on the county’s finances.

Tonight, the county board voted to pay $10,000 to an attorney from Ann Arbor who specializes in pension fund issues.

The attorney will examine the retire–rehire program and, within 4 weeks, recommend whether or not the grandfather clause should be eliminated.

Commissioner Debbie Pellow says it’s a relief to pay someone specializing in this field for advice, and she says she will support the tax attorney’s advice, whatever it ends up being.

She says there are still a lot of questions remaining in her mind about the policy and she looks forward to putting the entire issue behind her.

The remaining questions include whether or not the system saves money and the effect it has on unfunded pension liabilities.

Retire–rehire employees no longer pay into the pension system.

Pellow says for more than 2 years now, constituents have been asking her constantly when the system will be done away with entirely.

Until February 2010, it was possible for county employees to retire and then be re–hired back into their old jobs after they’d been gone at least 30 days.

More than 20 county employees are receiving both a paycheck and a pension under that system.