Knope of the Week: David Crosley, Oregon PERS Spokesperson

American City & County Magazine Highlights Knope of the Week

What is the Knope of the Week? It’s ELGL’s way of recognizing an individual or group of individuals who have excelled in promoting the public sector. Recipients may come from the public or private sector and are nominated by ELGL members. Recipients receive an incredible amount of recognition and prizes that we are not at liberty to disclose. The storied history of the award dates back to 2012.

This week’s recipient is……

David Crosley

Oregon Public Employees Retirement System

Spokesperson

Knope-Worthy Accomplishments

It’s a Knope-worthy accomplishment having to answer the same questions over and over about PERS and PERS reform, and David manages to do it with extreme professionalism. In our forum, David presented information that was helpful to those well versed in the PERS system to those who are just learning about PERS. While we were unable to completely solve the PERS dilemma on Thursday, we are well armed with information to go forward with and share in our communities and organizations.

We head to our Twitter feed to get the takeaways from the PERS, PERS, PERS forum.

Co-Founder @kowyatt kicked off the #PERS forum with the question “what’s the first trip you’ll take when you retire?”

#orpers headlines from 2002 onward show the public interest in public retirement in Oregon.

#PERS was created in 1945 to draw the best/brightest into public service, before that local gov’t couldn’t compete with private sector

171,000 active #orpers members in Oregon. #elgl members are in varying pools of active members.

#PERS members who’s employers pay their pick up of 6% don’t pay anything into their retirement #ELGL

Average annual benefit for all retirees is about $26,000 #ELGL

Average annual benefit is about 46% of final salary.

Goal of #orpers at origination was to replace 50% of annual salary at retirement.

“The longer you work the higher your benefit.” #orpers calculates accrued service times average annual salary times a set factor.

When the value of the #PERS fund goes down, employer contribution goes up #ELGL

The changes to #PERS this year reduced unfunded liability by about $2.6 billion #ELGL

#PERS benefits supported 32,085 jobs in Oregon #ELGL

#orpers relies heavily on investment earnings = 72.3%.

The 2008 market crash changed a 112% funding status down to 80%. #orpers

The 2008 financial crisis reduced the #PERS fund from $65 billion to $48 billion #ELGL

Analysis of Cost Benefit document on #orpers website is helpful to understand legislative changes and proposals.

SB 822 was the 2013 #orpers reform bill. Limited COLA for retirees; tax remedy benefit change.

Changes from SB 822 reduce employer contribution rate by 2.5%. Total cost reduction is $810 billion. Currently Being challenged in court.

Projection is that employer contributions will continue to increase over next two biennial. #orpers

Lowering the assumed rate increases employer contributions.

In 2012 #orpers paid $2 billion in benefits which has a direct Oregon #ecdev benefit when retirees spend where they live.

#orpers has an online, secure, accurate online calculator to help estimate benefit levels and status.

Legalities of SB 822 will be determined by the Supreme Court.

#DavidCrosley says there’s a misconception that public employees are on the “gravy train” which is not true because of lower salaries

Word on the Street About David

Eric Chambers, Gresham Senior Manager

I’ve heard David speak a couple of times now, and even called him up on other occasions to seek his help in sorting through more complex policy questions.  He’s simultaneously accommodating and super smart, while delivering his material in a great conversational tone.  We had a great time at the forum and learned a lot!

Linda Kidby, Gresham Community Outreach Specialist

I appreciated the informative statistics and comparable data about PERs – it provided me with an opportunity to be really grateful for what I have earned.

Bernard Seeger, Gresham Director, Finance and Management Services

David’s easy going style, tremendous depth of knowledge, and approachable manner were a solid hit in his recent presentation titled, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about PERS” held at the Gresham Civic Center on August 8, 2013.  David was peppered with questions about the future of PERS as well as more specific ones regarding “how does this affect me!”  He handled them all with grace and aplomb in a warm folksy Oregon kind of way.   We’d love to have him back as I’m certain many other employees would enjoy this same presentation to better educate themselves on this key component of retirement security as well as how important the health of PERS is to the broader Oregon economy.  Had to throw that in there Dave to give that issue a well-deserved plug.

Supplemental Reading