NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 20, 2013

F’s for area on pension funding

(Continued)

Scanlon also noted that employees are paying more for their share of pension costs, which should also speed up the process. Newer employees pay 9 percent of their salary toward their retirement, plus 2 percent of their salary over $30,000.

The town of Marblehead had the highest funded ratio among local communities, at 73.7 percent. Marblehead Finance Director John McGinn credited the town’s decision 20 years to join the state pension fund, a move many other communities didn’t make until recently.

The state pension fund has generally performed better on its investments than those run by local retirement boards. Marblehead’s rate of return over the last 10 years is 8.7 percent, more than two percentage points higher than those of Salem, Beverly, Peabody and Danvers.

“Marblehead was one of the first systems that went into the state investment pool back in the early ’90s and that’s been a very important decision because the state system has done fairly well over time,” McGinn said.

The Pioneer Institute, which advocates for limited government, created a website, MassPensions, that includes information on the state’s retirement boards and the grades that it assigned for each.

Atanasov said the project is an effort to bring transparency and public attention to the state pension system.

“Despite all of the reforms that have been made, many of which were meaningful, our system’s transparency is very, very poor,” he said.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

Funded ratios for pension systems

Marblehead, 73.7 percent

Danvers, 58.6 percent

Essex Regional, 51.9 percent

Beverly, 51.1 percent

Salem, 49.8 percent

Peabody, 48.5 percent

Swampscott, 46.2 percent

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