06-23-2018  7:11 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

State Supreme Court won't hear Sweet Cakes by Melissa appeal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to consider the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the now-defunct bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013 based on the bakers' religious objections.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday the Supreme...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Online sellers consider how to comply with sales tax ruling

NEW YORK (AP) — While a Supreme Court ruling on sales taxes will create more obligations and expenses for many small online retailers, owners are already thinking about how they'll comply.The decision allows states to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax from customers in...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Ex-S. Korean premier Kim Jong-pil, spy agency founder, dies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Kim Jong-pil, the founder of South Korea's spy agency whose political skills...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's skewed claims on immigration, economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is distorting the truth when it comes to the impact of his...

The Latest: Malta tells aid boat with migrants to go away

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on immigration issues in Europe (all times local):3:45 p.m.Malta's premier is...

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican tribunal on Saturday convicted a former Holy See diplomat and sentenced him...

Trump pushes back against border separation uproar

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump tried to cast doubt Friday on wrenching tales of migrant children...

Melanie Hicken CNN Money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Bankruptcy or not, Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, says the city simply can't afford the pensions it has promised tens of thousands of retired and current city workers, many of whom are counting on the checks to make ends meet.

So how much money do Detroit's retirees actually get?

On average Detroit's firefighters, police officers and other city employees receive pension checks that are similar or slightly smaller in size than the national average of $30,000 a year, according to pension experts. But compared with larger cities that have higher living costs, like Chicago and Los Angeles, Detroit's pensions checks often pale in comparison.

"My basic takeaway was that [Detroit's] pension system itself was not overly generous," said Jean-Pierre Aubry, assistant director of State and Local Research at Boston College's Center for Retirement Research.

While workers who reach the city's top posts, like police or fire chief for example, can retire with annual pensions that reach into the six-figures, the vast majority receive much smaller payments, Aubry said.

Retired general city workers, such as librarians or sanitation workers, received average payments of $18,275 a year in 2011, according to the Detroit General Retirement System. But those who put in the most time (or earn higher salaries) can see far healthier payments. A general city employee who retired in 2011 with an average ending salary of $60,000 and 40 years of service could receive around $45,000 a year.

Such benefits are more or less on par with the Detroit-area union auto workers. Retirees of the three big automakers receive average annual benefits of about $18,000 per year, in addition to another roughly $15,000 to $18,000 in Social Security payments, according to the United Automobile Workers, or UAW.

That's a big distinction: While retired Detroit firefighters and police officers receive more generous pension checks than auto workers -- checks averaged almost $30,000 a year in 2011 -- they often don't receive the added bonus of Social Security payments.

A 30-year veteran of the fire department who retired last year with an average ending salary of $60,000 would have qualified to receive around $44,000 a year, according to calculations using the plan's pension formula.

Police officers and firefighters in big cities often take home much more lavish pension checks. For example, with average annual benefits of $55,104, retirees of Chicago's police force took in nearly double Detroit's retirees. Meanwhile, retired Chicago firefighters had average annual payments of more than $60,000.

Chicago has its own budget woes, however. Last week, rating agency Moody's downgraded the city's credit rating, citing the city's ballooning pension obligations.

Even retired police and firefighters in Kansas City, Mo. -- a city with roughly two-thirds the population of Detroit and a similarly affordable cost of living -- take in more, with average annual payments of almost $42,500.

Still, it isn't all bad news for city workers. Since Detroit's firefighters and police offers are able to retire a decade (or more) before they reach the typical retirement age of 65, retirees can receive their benefits for decades. In addition, many retired officers have time to pursue other careers and accumulate additional savings.

In addition to a lifetime of payouts, city workers also receive retiree healthcare, a benefit that is rarely offered by private sector employers.

They can also extend their pension benefits to a spouse after they die by opting for smaller monthly pension checks, said Don Taylor, president of the Retired Detroit Police and Firefighters Association. The amount the payments are reduced by depends on the spouse's age.

Taylor himself receives about $2,500 a month from his 26 years in the Detroit Police Department, about a few hundred less than he would receive if he hadn't opted to include his wife in the plan. Taylor, 64, will also receive a small Social Security check from his 10 years as a travel agent. But other than that, he has no other retirement savings.

Regardless of whether Orr's proposed cuts go through, pension checks for younger employees will be less generous, said Leon LaBrecque, founder of a Michigan-based wealth management firm, who has worked with hundreds of Detroit city retirees.

Current workers have already agreed to pension cuts. For example, in 2011, Detroit police and firefighters agreed to a roughly 15% cut for pension benefits accrued from future years of service.

"There's this myth that everyone in Detroit is getting a fat pension," LaBrecque said. "But that's clearly not true."

 

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