Group pushing for transparency, change in public employee pension system

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – A group called Taxpayers United of America was in Toledo Thursday pushing for reform in the way Ohio handles public employee pensions.

The group says employee pension information should be made public.  They also want the state to end defined benefit pensions for new hires and increase contributions for employee pensions and healthcare premiums.

Since pension information is not made public, the group says they have estimated pensions for Toledo and Lucas County employees.  The group claims top earners in the area stand to collect more than $4.7 million in the form of a pension upon retirement.  They also say dozens of city employees have pensions higher than $3 million.

Taxpayers United for America representatives say they are concerned about the pattern because the current pension system is unsustainable.

"The system will collapse," said Raeann McNeilly of Taxpayers United. "There will be no money in the system for hardworking people who have looked forward their whole lives to living off the benefits they were promised. They just won't be there."

City of Toledo spokesperson Jen Sorgenfrei says there are flaws in the methodology Taxpayers United of America used to estimate city employee pensions figures. Toledo Mayor Michael Bell has supported eliminating city pickup of employees' pension shares.