Does the City Care About Its Retirees?


Retirees Update

By Tom Moutes, RLACEI Legislative Director

Tom Moutes

You worked hard during your City career and maybe made less money by working for the government, but you knew you would have a relatively good retirement benefit. Because of the better retirement security, this was a tradeoff you were okay with taking. But once your career ended, the accolades given, and your retirement began, does the City still care about you?

As a former General Manager of LACERS, I can tell you that LACERS cares about you. Overall, LACERS staff does a great job for Retirees, including a state-of-the-art wellness program. The current LACERS board also showed how much it cares about

Retirees by adopting a staff recommendation that the City Council and mayor pass an additional 2.6 percent (“discretionary”) cost-of-living increase to help Retirees through this period of high inflation – the highest we have seen in 40 years.

So, what about the elected officials? Do they care? The lack of action on the proposed 2.6 percent discretionary COLA would indicate they do not. The recommendation by the LACERS board was transmitted to the CAO. Since that time, the City process has gone quiet. Council committees have not taken up the issue. The Council has not even given the courtesy of a thumbs up or thumbs down vote so that the 20,000-plus rRtirees and beneficiaries know where they stand. The Mayor’s Office has not intervened.

Even a 2.6 percent discretionary COLA will not come close to the financial hit that the recent inflation has inflicted on our country. But a small discretionary COLA could play an important part in helping make ends meet for all Retirees and especially the 36 percent of LACERS Retirees and beneficiaries who receive less than $36,000 per year.

It’s time for the City’s elected officials to break their silence. The City’s Retirees, many of whom have spent decades of service to the citizens of the City and, in doing so, made their elected officials look good, deserve better. At a minimum, Retirees deserve formal consideration of the 2.6 percent discretionary COLA and, at best, the adoption of the COLA. What will the City’s elected officials do? So far, their silence has been deafening.