City employees to be protected

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lewisburg city employees are to be protected against discontinuation of their former retirement program, according to discussion among city councilmen at their most recent meeting.

The resolution addresses the employees' 401(k) retirement savings plan that's different from a pension program, and councilmen unanimously voted for a resolution asserting a technical aspect of the program.

It protects employees from what might be called a "money grab," according to discussion.

In recent months, the city added an employees' pension program to succeed the so-called "defined benefit program" better known as a 401(k).

Records show the 401(k) is "non-forfeitable," and Councilman Robin Minor asked for an explanation. Councilman Steve Thomas replied.

"If we terminate the plan in whole or in part, they can't forfeit the rights," Thomas said, offering an example suffered by former employees of Monsanto. "They tried to take pension rights."

The resolution, he said, states that, "We, as a council couldn't do a money grab."

City Attorney Steve Broadway agreed, explaining the resolution is part of a provision in the income tax code.

City and employee contributions to the 401(k) plan have been reduced or eliminated.

Also on Aug. 9, the council approved on first reading ordinances to:

* Annex land along Globe Road at Mooresville Highway and Interstate 65 where a new convenience store is planned. In conjunction with that addition of county land into the city, the property would be zoned for commercial purposes.

* Close a portion of Lunn Street and related alleys that were never built. Two more successful votes are anticipated. The rights of way that would have been public streets will become the property of adjoining property owners, according to discussion at the City Hall meeting. Those owners include Greater First Baptist Church and Ronald Robinson. Councilman Ronald McRady noted that the alleys had been planned for delivery of coal.