Merrill Lynch Senior Resident Director Warren Willis, left, discusses the city of Albany’s Employee Pension Trust with Pension Board Chairman Phil Roberson Thursday. Willis told the board the trust has a balance of $100,181,826.
ALBANY — A group of retired city of Albany employees got some good news from Mayor Dorothy Hubbard at the city’s Pension Board meeting Thursday.
Hubbard told a small group of employees who attended the meeting she planned to recommend to the Albany City Commission that retirees already receiving Medicare Part B reimbursements continue to do so. The retirees had received a letter from Human Resources Director Henry Cohen explaining that the reimbursements, in the amount of $96.40 monthly, would be discontinued Dec. 31.
“It is my plan to recommend to the commission that people in the retirement plan who are currently receiving (the reimbursements) be grandfathered in so that they’ll continue to receive them,” Hubbard said.
Former city clerk and city commissioner Joann Pope said losing the funds would be a hardship for some retirees.
“This would not bother me that bad, but there are some (retirees) who are getting $300 a month,” Pope said. “If you take $100 from that, they’re not going to be able to eat.”
Pope said after the meeting she’s pleased with the response the group received Thursday.
“This wasn’t about me,” she said. “It was about some employees who are not in as favorable situation as I am. I’m very pleased that Mayor Hubbard plans to make a recommendation to let these current retirees be grandfathered in and continue to receive the reimbursements. Somone’s got to take care of our folks.”
Also at the meeting, Warren Willis, the senior vice president for wealth management and senior resident director with Merrill Lynch, which manages the city’s Employee Pension Trust Fund, said the plan “had a great August” and was currently showing a 9.36 cumulative rate of return.
“That’s right around the plan’s historical return,” Willis said after the meeting. “It’s unusual to be at that figure only eight months into the year.”
Willis said the pension trust’s fund balance is currently at $100,181,826.
“The plan’s done great this year,” he said. “I don’t see that coming to an end.”