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Rep. Gerry Connolly, NTEU blast bill cutting feds’ retirements

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Rep. Gerry Connolly (File photo / Getty Images)

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley teamed up on a teleconference this afternoon to denounce a bill that would steeply cut federal employees pensions.

Connolly and Kelley urged lawmakers to vote down HR 3813, the Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act, when it comes up for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee vote tomorrow. (Connolly expects the bill will pass the Republican-controlled committee on a party-line vote, which he said would be unfortunate.)

They denounced all the bill’s provisions, such as increasing contribution rates for current and future feds, switching to a high-five system for future feds, and cutting future feds’ pensions. Slashing federal retirement benefits — on top of the pay freeze and general anti-fed atmosphere from politicians these days — will make it much more difficult to recruit the most talented employees, they said.

“This is a real, profound breach of faith with the existing federal workforce,” Connolly said.

But another provision in the bill — eliminating the Federal Employees Retirement System supplement for retirees not yet eligible for Social Security — especially angered two IRS employees nearing retirement who were also on the conference call. John Kelshaw, who works in IRS’ appeals office in New Jersey, said he started out as a Civil Service Retirement System employee, but switched over to FERS partly because of the promised supplement.

“I have kept up my end of the bargain, but Congress wants to change the rules now,” Kelshaw said. “A promise made should be a promise kept.”

Sharyn Phillips, an estate tax attorney at the IRS’ Manhattan office, wants to retire after 30 years of service in 2016, when she’ll be 57. She made her retirement plans based on the FERS supplement, and said she wants to use her time to take care of her husband, who retired four years ago in poor health. But losing that supplement (which for many eligible feds amounts to several hundred dollars a month) would put retirement out of her reach, at least for several more years.

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Comments

  1. LEONARD Says:
    February 6th, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Is congressman connoly going to take a reduction in his pay? Also all his money he receives for his aides? The congress has not taken any reduction in their pay. Otherwise (lets cut the federal retirement, but keep the money flowing in for congressman, senators, judges, president and all their aides”.

  2. joe watuis Says:
    February 6th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    NALC and APWU- your dues, that is why we hate all Postal
    bills that offer Early Retirements, we need your dues.
    What is this?, The Postal Unions telling Congress not to help the US Post Office,
    it is the Unions dictating to Congress, yet Congress listens not to those they serve.
    The Bill S- 1789 in the United States Senate, was to help to salvage what is left of the US Post Office, and offer Early Retirements to workers, so as to avoid a Reduction in Force and layoffs, the NALC, APWU, and the Mail handlers Unions have basically doomed any legislation to keep the Post Office solvent, the bottom line is Union dues for the Bigwigs in these Unions.
    The Craft Workers, not management ,should be offered the Early Retirements.

    APWU & NALC  
    Call Your Senators:    
    202-224-3121    
    (Capitol Switchboard)    
    [Click here for direct #s]    
    Tell them you Support    
    S. 1789 as it is currently written  
    S-1853 does not offer Voluntary Early Retirements, no mention of Incentives
    The Money will go to the USPS Management, tell Senators you will Support bills with the
    Early Retirement options and incentives, the NALC and APWU do not speak for us any more.
    Cut what is there and paste this or something else to your Senators.

    GOOGLE……….U.S. SENATE………Choose your “SENATOR HOME” State. Look for the area in which to write and send your comment.  
    I wrote ” I work for the U.S.P.S. and I do not oppose S1789 in it’s current form”. This bill offers three types of incentives not to be combined.  
    1. 25,000 cash.  
    2. 2 years added on to your FERS retirement  
    3. 1 year added on to your CSRS retirement.  
     

  3. cindy Says:
    February 7th, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I strongly agree with the two IRS employees. I’d planned on retiring in 2014 with 30 yrs of service. I’ve included the supplemental annuity as part of my retirement planning. To change the rules for people that are nearing retirement isn’t right. That change should be grandfathered in for employees that are still a long way from retiring and can financially adjust to the change. As a Republican it’s sad to have to say that the Democrats are the only ones standing up for the federal employee. That will affect my vote!

  4. Robert Benson Says:
    February 7th, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Reduced benefits at a higher cost for employees hired in the future may be unpleasant, but it is not really unfair, because they will know at the outset what the conditions are, and they can make an infomed choice. But ending the FERS annuity supplement for current employees is a repudiation of a long-standing employment agreement, grossly unfair to current employees who have planned on it for years.

    Also, the amount of the supplement is, typicallly, from $700 – $1,300 per month, depending on years of service and salary. This is, clearly, a good deal more than “several hundred dollars a month.”

    For an exact calcuation of your supplement, in 2012, go to fedbens.us and click on menu choice no. 9.

  5. Dan Malone Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Once again all the ills of this country are the fault of the federall employees. Perhaps they need to look in the mirror.

  6. ROB BAKER Says:
    February 14th, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    All politicians should have there pays and benies cut and let them see how the real world is.Time to get rid of the bad and put new ones in with a different pay and benefit system.And strict term limits.