Kentucky Sen. John Schickel’s work on a County Employee Retirement System (CERS) bill is turning heads as he pushes for the pension’s resolve.
Last week, Schickel attended a Florence City Council meeting, where he stressed the importance of getting Senate Bill 226 passed as quickly as possible — rejecting Gov. Matt Bevin’s request to delay the bill, and promising to work closely with the Kentucky League of Cities to get the job done.
“We all know the Kentucky Retirement System is in trouble. We could go around blaming people for it, but I think it is wasted energy,” he told the council, according to The River City News. “CERS is the largest part of the system and it is not fully funded, but pretty well funded. If you get your own board of trustees, get the system shored up, and then focus on KRS, it’s a matter of breaking the problem down so it can be solved.”
Also known as the “CERS divorce bill,” SB 226 looks to separate CERS from the Kentucky Retirement System (KRS) and create a separate board of governance for CERS. The new board would consist of three elected officials and six members that would be appointed by either the Kentucky League of Cities or the Kentucky School Board Association.
Schickel also noted that, once split from CERS, KRS’s financial issues could be addressed separately — making a cash basis funding for the state’s police fund a possibility.
His efforts were lauded by Florence as the city thanked the senator for sticking by his word and making the bill a top priority, The River City News reported. Mayor Diane Whalen also approved, adding that the bill would benefit the city.
“It’s a matter of recognizing that even though the broad generalization that the Kentucky pension system is in trouble is being highlighted by this bill to say ‘CERS is stable,’” mayor Whalen told CIO. “CERS can provide for itself and what’s dragging it down and causing the issues or causing the number to look so bad is it being joined with KERS. It’s important that there’s somebody in Frankfort who’s willing to listen and understands the benefits of separating those two systems from each other and allowing CERS to govern itself.”