President’s Message – Retirement System COLA

There have been questions about retirement system COLAs. The most common question asked is “How is a retirement system COLA calculated?”. Baltimore County Code Section Section 3-3-902 requires 11 members of the Pension System Board of Trustees (BOT). The County Code gives the County Executive direct control of six (6) of the eleven (11) positions. The County Council appoints two (2) positions. We currently have three (3) votes; the two active members and one retired member. 

To change the current ten (10) years smoothing and eight year geometric average calculation for a COLA would require a majority vote of the trustees.

We are asking all retirees to email and or call the County Executive and members of County Council and tell them the system calculation for retiree COLAs should return to the pre 2009 calculation.

§ 3-3-902. – MEMBERSHIP.

(a) Composition; appointment of members.
(1) The Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees consists of eleven trustees.

(2) Of the eleven trustees:
(i) The County Council shall appoint two trustees and the County Executive shall appoint one trustee, each of whom must be a resident of the county who:
1. Does not hold an elective or appointed office or other employment with the county or state;
2. Is not a member, retired member, or beneficiary of the Retirement System or any retirement system provided for under any provision of state law or any county or municipal retirement system;
3. Is not an employee or member of a public or private sector employee union; and
4. Is knowledgeable and experienced in the administration and operation of pension systems, investments, or trust funds.

(ii) The following five trustees shall serve ex officio:
1. The County Executive or the County Executive’s designee;
2. The Director of Budget and Finance;
3. The Director of Human Resources;
4. The Director of Public Works; and
5. The Chief of the Police Department;

(iii) Two trustees shall be members of the retirement system elected by the members of the retirement system; and

(iv) One trustee shall be a retired member of the retirement system elected by the retired members of the retirement system.

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