Monday, October 31, 2011

Pension Reform Oped From Comptroller John Liu


World-Class Pensions for a World-Class City
By New York City Comptroller John C. Liu  

New York is one of the world’s financial capitals, and yet our pension investment system exists in an outdated backwater. Dating from the 19th Century, it is unwieldy, inefficient, and heavily politicized. The City’s five pension funds are governed by five separate boards, and no two funds are managed the same. The result is a mess – even as it is responsible for $120 billion in retirement funds for 700,000 hardworking and retired New Yorkers.

Pension Reform NYC will change things. Labor leaders, elected officials, and pension trustees themselves have joined forces to replace this outmoded system with a streamlined structure that will lower pension costs, improve returns on workers’ pension investments, and ensure greater accountability.  It will save money right from the start by in-sourcing the management of certain assets. And, it will save more money over time by focusing on long-term investment decisions, strategic risk management, and all the elements one would expect in a top-tier financial center like New York.

Under the plan, the City’s five pension funds would cede authority to a new Pension Investment Board – with representation from municipal employees and the Mayor and Comptroller -- that would set policies and objectives for the system as a whole. The Bureau of Asset Management would move out of the Comptroller’s Office and be reestablished as the NYC Investment Management Company, headed by a Chief Investment Officer whose term would not coincide with any elected official.

This new structure will be more efficient and more nimble – allowing it to increase investment results while lowering taxpayer costs. It is important to note that the biggest driver of pension cost escalation over the past decade has been poor market performance. And amid looming risks of a double-dip in our economy, long-term strategy is more essential than ever.

Full implementation of Pension Reform NYC requires state and city legislative approval. The Comptroller’s Office is committed to working with all stakeholders to shepherd this proposal to fruition in the months to come.
Municipal workers’ and retirees pensions should be entrusted to a modern, professionally managed system that can withstand the volatility and unpredictability of markets for years to come. This is our best chance to create a public pension system that New York City deserves. There is no time to waste.

For more information on Pension Reform NYC visit

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Former NYC Councilman" Fernando Ferrer?

That is what the headline of a Celeste Katz item that can be found here was sent out by State Senate Republicans as a headliner at their first-ever Hispanic conference. 

The story goes on to say that Ferrer has not been a councilman since the 1980's, and that the Senate Republicans forget that Ferrer is best known as Bronx Borough President. 

Katz even goes as far as to say how disconnected Senate Republicans are with the Latino community.

One Senate Democrats joke that he wonders how Assemblyman Pataki is doing.

Senator Rivera Hosts Final Bronx CAN Health Initiative Check-In 
Bronxites Attending the  Health Fair, Will Learn Healthy Comfort Food Recipes for Winter

Senator Gustavo Rivera (D, WF-Bronx) is hosting the final Bronx CAN Health Initiative Check-In at St. James Park Recreation Center on Saturday, October 29, 2011. The event will include a health fair with Bronx CAN Health community partners and a healthy "comfort food" recipes food demonstration that will help Bronxites stay healthy in the winter.

WHO: State Senator Gustavo Rivera

WHAT: Bronx CAN Health Initiative Check-In

WHERE: St. James Park Recreation Center – 2530 Jerome Ave.

WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 2:00PM



As to the question of possible campaign finance irregularities that has been brought up recently in the media we have received the following from the Friends of John Liu.


John Liu has initiated a comprehensive independent review of his campaign's fundraising.  The review will be conducted by Robert Abrams, partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and former New York State Attorney General.  The review is expected to be completed within 60 days.

"I look forward to a thorough and prompt review," said Liu.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Borough President Diaz & Sanitation Commissioner Doherty Fight 'Pooper-trators'

On Thursday, October 27, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined NYC Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty and Bronx Community Board #7 District Manager Fernando Tirado to announce a new information and enforcement campaign aimed at keeping Bronx streets free of canine waste.

Here, Borough President Diaz holds a “pooper scooper,” which typically cost about $20 each—a contrast to the $250 fine “pooper-trators” will receive for failing to clean up after their pet.


City Comptroller John C. Liu, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and organized labor leaders today announced an agreement in principle to reform and professionalize the investment governance and management of the City’s pension funds. The proposal would place investment advisory authority for all five of the currently
independent City pension funds under one new pension board, supported by an independent, full-time staff led by a Chief Investment Officer, who would be appointed to a fixed term. The proposal is intended to insulate management of pension assets from any political office, further professionalize it and make it more consistent with industry best practices. The proposal aims to increase investment returns, lower the City’s pension costs, protect and strengthen pensions for current and future retirees, enhance accountability and guard against the possibility of fraud and corruption. The City’s five pension funds currently have 58 trustees, each with a different weighted vote, who decide investment policy. No two systems are governed, managed or operated in the same manner, resulting in complexity, inconsistency and inefficiency. The Mayor and Comptroller made the announcement at City Hall, where they were joined by District Council 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, Uniformed Firefighters Association President Stephen Cassidy, Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, Detectives’ Endowment Association President Michael Palladino, Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter, and Pension Board Trustees.

“The City’s pension system dates back more than one-hundred and fifty  years,” said Comptroller Liu. “This new paradigm will enable us to achieve better results in today’s more complex financial markets. Depoliticizing, professionalizing, and streamlining the management of our pension funds will enhance investment returns and reduce pension costs. Our labor leaders and trustees have delivered a huge win for
taxpayers and City workers alike with this game-changer.”

“In Washington these days, government seems to be hopelessly gridlocked, with each party stressing only what keeps them apart,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “But in New York City, we thankfully act differently – bridging differences and bringing people together to find common ground on the toughest issues and working together for the good all New Yorkers. We’re overhauling an antiquated pension management system that has needed restructuring for generations – depoliticizing the process, further professionalizing the staff and
implementing industry best practices. While these reforms should make a big difference in the management of City pension assets, we still desperately need pension benefit reforms to significantly reduce the pension costs that are siphoning dollars away from City services.”

The investment reform proposal will simplify a complex, outdated investment structure to ensure the $120 billion New York City Pension System is best-in-class among peer institutional investors worldwide.
Investment expense savings will be realized, primarily by developing in-house investment expertise for certain asset classes. Over the long term, superior returns would generate significant taxpayer savings through consistent long-term investment direction, strategic risk management, increased accountability and authority, first-mover advantage and a high-caliber, specialized staff.

The major provisions of the investment reform proposal are:

§  The five New York City Pension Funds would delegate investment authority to a newly created pension investment board composed of City and labor representatives. The board would set strategic objectives
and policy for the funds.

§  The Bureau of Asset Management would be moved out of the Comptroller’s Office and be re-established as an independent investment entity that will determine consultant and asset manager pools and manage certain asset classes in-house. The proposal calls for the investment entity to be staffed by experienced industry professionals and for compensation packages to attract those investment professionals.

§  A Chief Investment Officer will lead the new investment management entity. The Chief Investment Officer will report to the new pension investment board – not to any individual elected official – and will be appointed to a fixed term that will not coincide with citywide election cycles.

§  The new pension investment board and new investment staff will adopt best-in-class ethics, governance, training, and code of conduct policies and procedures to protect against fraud, waste and abuse.

The assets of the five pension funds will remain separate under the proposal and each fund will continue to administer benefits and make disability determinations independently.

“We strongly support these efforts to bolster the pension investment returns for New York City Firefighter pensions,” said Steve Cassidy, UFA President.  “We’ve been encouraging the city to develop a strategic plan for the pension investments that allows it to enhance investment returns for beneficiaries and be much more responsive to changes occurring in the global financial marketplace.”

“The proposal to create an investment board is a win-win situation for the taxpayers and the participants of the retirement system,” said District Council 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts. “District Council 37 members receive an average annual pension of $17,000. Therefore, a proposal that would help secure the pension of the workers without reducing what is already a small pension is welcome. We applaud Comptroller John Liu for thinking outside the box and for bringing all affected parties to reach consensus on moving forward with this proposal.”

“It sounds like an innovative approach to providing relief to taxpayers while maintaining pension guarantees to our past and present employees,” said Detectives’ Endowment Association President Michael Palladino. “The details are critical to any deal but it is certainly worth listening to.”

“The world of finance has changed dramatically over the last few decades,” said Roy T. Richter, President of Captains Endowment Association. “Any modification to our current pension system that enables it to adapt quickly to shifting market conditions and preserving pension assets needs careful review and consideration. In
difficult economic times, our leaders must examine unconventional partnership to carry us through.  Vision, coupled with outside the box thinking is the brand of resilience that makes New York City great.”

“New York’s business leadership has long advocated for efficiencies in the City’s pension systems,” said Bill Rudin, Chairman of the Association for a Better New York. “Today’s innovative agreement is a step toward reducing taxpayer burdens while protecting current and future municipal employee pensions. Congratulations to Mayor Bloomberg, Comptroller Liu and labor leaders for this historic initiative.”

“The New York City Pension System has now adopted a world-class public pension governance model,” said Andrew Ang, Ann F. Kaplan Professor of Business at Columbia Business School. “The reforms should allow the new entity to significantly impact returns – by actions as simple as bringing in-house and managing cheaply what had been previously outsourced at much higher costs.”

“The newly proposed changes would move New York City Pension Funds to the front of the class of public pension organizations not just in the USA, but internationally as well,” said Keith P. Ambachtsheer, Director of the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management at the University of Toronto and President and Founder of KPA Advisory Services.

The New York City Pension Systems consist of five separate funds: The New York City Police Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System, the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, and the Board of Education Retirement System.

Full implementation of the investment reform proposal requires State legislative approval. Representatives from the Mayor’s Office, the Comptroller’s Office and organized labor will work together to finalize the proposal and work with elected officials to implement the plan.

Details of the proposal are available online at


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg Trust Donated Big to Louisiana Education Board Elections

A fund called The Michael R. Bloomberg Revocable Trust, of which the principal trustee is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, donated $100,000 to a Baton Rouge-based political action committee just days before a pivotal Louisiana election that decided the make-up of the state’s main K-12 board of education.

The PAC in question, Alliance for Better Classrooms, spent at least $300,000 in contributions on behalf of generally pro-charter, anti-teacher-tenure and anti-union candidates running for positions on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).
The elections were this past Saturday, and though a couple of races are still inconclusive, state campaign finance reports show the business lobby, buttressed by Bloomberg dollars, far outspent groups aligned with teacher union positions.
Voters also re-elected Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) to a second term and a swath of state and local legislative positions. Jindal’s likely selection for the state superintendent of education is John White, current superintendent of New Orleans-dominated Recovery School District and former deputy school chief of New York City’s public school system. RSD has overseen the aggressive closure of schools in New Orleans which has led to the city leading the nation in the percentage of charter schools that make up its school buildings — around 70 percent.
Mayor Bloomberg has been a staunch supporter of charter schools, and White helped the mayor roll out his reform-styled education plans in New York.
Interestingly, the largest Bloomberg Trust donation occurred four days before the election; other smaller $5,000 donations from the Trust came through even closer to the day voters headed out to the polls.
BESE officials work part-time and are unpaid, but implement the laws the state Legislature passes and preside over the Louisiana Department of Education. In recent years, BESE has become a battle ground for moderates, progressives and business-backed reform candidates who seek to curb or dramatically expand loose teacher tenure laws and the presence of charter schools.
Implications and the money
The implications of this election are at first glance not deserving of the big money coming from the likes of an organization bearing the billionaire mayor of New York City’s name. But the 11-member BESE determines whether the radical education reforms taking place in Louisiana will continue at even greater pace, and whether big-business groups sympathetic to the now re-elected Gov. Jindal can have even greater sway in the state’s education system.
Alliance for Better Classrooms is backed by Lane Grigsby, founder and chairman of Board of Cajun Contractors, Inc., a successful construction firm that in the last two years alone was awarded $300 million in civil projects from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A Times Picayune article indicates Cajun Contractors earns $400 million a year.
Also behind the PAC is Mike Wampold, a construction developer whose company builds luxury residential and large commercial properties.
Grigsby has gone on record complaining about teacher tenure in the Pelican State, saying not enough teachers have been let go. In the same Times Picayune article, the semi-retired businessman stressed performance is improved through competition, something of a rallying cry for education reformers who seek to buffer public education with a free-market sheen.
In total, Alliance for Better Classrooms donated $300,000 to what they call “pro-reform” candidates. The PAC received large donations from a few individuals and companies: $90,000 from Cajun Industries; $100,000 each from Grigsby’s wife Barbara Grigsby and the Bloomberg Trust; $25,000 from ISC Constructors; and four $20,000 donations from private citizens, including lawyer Michael C. Moran and Todd W. Grigsby, the elder Grigsby’s son.
Reform-style candidate, backed by business lobby, under scrutiny for loose ethics
Chas Roemer, son of former governor Buddy Roemer, is a BESE member squarely in the reform camp who benefited from the business community’s financial largesse.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), a self-proclaimed promoter of the “free-enterprise system” that benefits the business community, set up four regional PACs (West PAC, East PAC, North PAC, and South PAC) that each gave Roemer, an incumbent, $10,000. The state Republican Party gave nearly $34,000. Gov. Jindal, who needs a two-thirds majority in BESE so that his choice for state superintendent of public schools is appointed, gave Roemer $5,000 through his campaign committee.
Roemer’s membership on BESE has been a source of rancor for groups opposing his unabated support for charter schools. Roemer’s sister, Caroline Roemer Shirley, is executive director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS). The group advocates for expanding charter schools in the state and loosening restrictions on teacher tenure. In 2008, the state’s top ethics committee ruled Caroline Roemer cannot appear before BESE, but LAPCS is not restricted. Chas Roemer was not asked to recuse himself from hearings when LAPCS is present, though sections 1112 and 1120 of the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics indicate that he should.
A look at BESE meeting minutes in January of 2011 reveals (PDF) Chas Roemer voted on renewing the charters of multiple charter schools (Type 5 Charter Schools) that are members of the charter school association his sister leads. Some of those include the McDonogh schools, which belong to the KIPP and Algiers charter school networks.
Why Gov. Jindal cares about BESE
Jindal can appoint three BESE representatives; though the reform camp has a one-member majority, an additional member sympathetic to the pro-charter reform movement would put the coalition over the top. The governor’s likely selection for the top education position, White of the Recovery School District (RSD), is also an alumnus of Teach for America (TFA).
One BESE election that had the attention of many was between incumbent Louella Givens and the head of TFA in New Orleans, Kira Orange Jones. Neither candidate won, and a run-off is set for mid November.
Jones is viewed as a potential member of the Jindal coalition on BESE.
Givens, known as a supporter of teachers unions and a constant critic of RSD and charter schools, took in $11,000 from the state affiliates of the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. Another $2,000 came in from the Louisiana School Board Association (LSBA), an organization very critical of the state’s education policy moves.
Jones, meanwhile, received $40,000 from the four PACs created by LABI and $5,000 amounts from dozens of contributors, including the Bloomberg group, and donors from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
American Federation for Children, a non-profit that is regarded as the leading group in advocating for school voucher programs, donated heavily in the Saturday elections. It raised $100,000 from ISC Construction, $25,000 from Cajun Industries and $1,000 from a group called Friends of Bobby Jindal.
Charter schools are semi-autonomous education institutions with private school boards. In New Orleans, they operate as miniature school districts and have been fraught with incidents of poor student treatment, aggressive punishment tactics, lackluster academic gains and testing improprieties. National studies suggest the success of charter schools is limited, and more charter schools underperform compared to traditional neighborhood schools than those that compare more favorably.
However, parents have higher marks for charter schools, including in New Orleans, and prefer the experimental schools to traditional neighborhood programs.

This was found on line at American Independent .com


Open Memo to My Senate Caucus Colleagues

 To:        Members of the New York State Senate Puerto Rican/ Latino Caucus
From:        Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz

Date:        October 24, 2011

Re:        Our Show of Unity

This memo is to congratulate my Senate colleagues who serve as Members of the New York State Senate Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus: Senator Adriano Espaillat, Chair; Senator Gustavo Rivera, Vice-Chair; and Caucus Members Senator José Peralta, Senator Martin-Malavé Dilan, and Senator José M. Serrano.  I congratulate all of you for showing real unity on behalf of our Caucus and our community by not attending the so-called Legislative Hispanic Unity Conference that was organized by our Senate Majority (Republican) Leader Dean Skelos.

Most importantly, I have to admire our Caucus Chairman, Senator Adriano Espaillat for his leadership.
I have to admire our Caucus Vice-Chair Gustavo Rivera for being forthright in the media last week by stating: “I will not be attending the conference. If the majority leader and the Senate Republicans were serious about addressing the issues affecting Latinos, they would have asked their Latino counterparts in the Senate to help them organize a conference that reflects the issues that are impacting Latinos throughout the state such as immigrants’ rights issues as well as the need to extend the millionaire’s tax so that New York State is able to continue funding important services like education, housing, and healthcare that are so critical to our communities.”
I have to admire our Caucus Member Senator Jose Peralta who told the press: “It’s a dog-and-pony show that they’re putting together so that they can say that they actually put something together. As opposed to when we’re up in session and we’re actually pushing for legislation that matters to
Latinos – like immigration, like housing, like safe streets, like good schools and good jobs – and when we have an opportunity do actually move those pieces of legislation forward, when we have an opportunity to actually do something productive for the Latino community…then it doesn’t take effect. There is no dialogue.”

The number of Hispanic elected officials in New York State continues to grow with more than 50 Hispanic elected officials in office today.  This includes two Hispanic Members of the U.S. Congress, One Borough President, six State Senators, Ten Members of the State Assembly, and 11  Members of the New York City Council. It is also proper to note the many elected district leaders,  state committee members, and many others of Hispanic descent, throughout the state.

To find out that out of so many Hispanic elected officials, only two attended Senator Dean Skelos’s publicity event this weekend certainly demonstrates a great show of unity among Hispanics who did not attend. This speaks volumes!!!!

I understand that only two Hispanic elected officials attended. They are Assembly Member Guillermo Linares and Assembly Member Naomi Rivera. But rumor has it that Assemblyman Linares is pursuing Republican support so that Congressional districts might be more geared to his needs and  I have no idea what Assembly Member Naomi Rivera’s intentions were by attending Senator Dean Skelos’ event and not joining the rest of the Hispanic elected officials.
It was mentioned that Roberto Ramirez attended Senator Dean Skelos’ event, but he is no longer an elected official.  Roberto Ramirez is a hired consultant and it is believed that he served as part of the consulting firm for the event.

Again, I congratulate you all and all New York State Hispanic elected officials that stood up for their community.

City Council Fundraiser:
We Didn't Know it Was 2013 Already

People for Ydanis

Cordially Invites You to Join Them
for the Re-Election Kick-Off Fundraiser

Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez

Thursday, December 1, 2011
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant
42 Central Park South
(59th St between 5th & 6th Ave.)
New York, NY 10019

□$500   □$1,000   □$2,000   □$2,750  □ Other _______

Please make checks payable to ‘People for Ydanis’
Checks can be mailed to: Deborah Nabavian
120 Cabrini Blvd. #36, New York, NY 10033

Please RSVP to Judith Cruz at 917.318.5012 or
   Contributor’s Name    _______________________________________________________________
   Employer    _______________________________________________________________
   Employer Address    _______________________________________________________________
   Home Address    _______________________________________________________________
City    __________________________  State___________   Zip_______________
   Telephone    _______________________________________________________________
   Email    _______________________________________________________________
I understand that State law requires that a contribution be in my name and be from my  own funds. I hereby affirm that this contribution is being made from my personal funds, is not being reimbursed in any manner, and is not being made as a loan.

    SIGNATURE ______________________________________ DATE _________________________

Paid for by People for Ydanis

Monday, October 24, 2011


  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and State Senator Gustavo Rivera attended a celebration of National Food Day on Monday, October 24 at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, which is one of several schools in the Bronx that have adopted the Bronx CAN Family Health Challenge. The Family Health Challenge and the corresponding guidebook that is attached were created through a partnership between SEIU-CIR (SEIU’s Committee of Interns and Residents) and the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center. In addition to the Academy of Mount St. Ursula and other Bronx schools’ participation, the guidebook will be distributed to students at more than 50 public schools through Montefiore Medical Center’s school-based health clinics.  
"For the last few months, the Bronx CAN Health Initiative has inspired Bronxites to take responsibility over their own health and make changes to their habits in order to lead longer and healthier lives," said Senator Gustavo Rivera. "Given that issues of obesity, heart disease and diabetes start with the formation of bad health habits at a young age, I am excited that the Bronx CAN Health Initiative is continuing in Bronx schools. It is my hope that the students and families who take on this 8-week challenge will continue to incorporate the lessons they learned as part of the Family Health Challenge into their daily lives."

“The Bronx CAN Family Health Challenge is a perfect example of how members of our Bronx community form partnerships and work together to create great programs that have a large, positive impact on the well-being of the borough. I urge all Bronx students and their families to take on the eight-week Family Health Challenge. The lessons they will learn during these eight weeks can really help the members of our community, young and old, to start making healthier decisions as far as what they eat day to day, and can ultimately lead to a healthier lifestyle for Bronxites overall,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Montefiore Medical Center is honored and excited to be a partner in this important initiative, which is all about engaging youth and families in making healthy choices”, said Roberto S. Garcia, Senior Director of The Office of Community Relations at Montefiore.  “Montefiore continues to be a leader in providing programs and services that enhance the health of all members of our Bronx community.”

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's latest reports, the Bronx continues to be the unhealthiest county in the state of New York, with higher rates of obesity, diabetes and asthma than other parts of the state. In response to this report and to the crisis of obesity and obesity-related diseases, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and State Senator Rivera joined with community organizations from throughout the Bronx to launch the Bronx CAN Health Initiative in June of this year.
As part of the health initiative, Senator Rivera vowed to lose 15 to 20 pounds before the end of October. As of October 24th, Senator Rivera had lost 16 pounds. His last weigh-in will be on October 29, 2011 at 1:30PM in St. James Park on Jerome Ave. for the last of the Bronx CAN Health Initiative's monthly health fairs.

From Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr.

To:        New York State Senator Dean G. Skelos

From:        New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz

Date:        October 24, 2011

Re:        First Legislative Hispanic Unity Conference

As everyone already knows, the Six New York State Hispanic Senators unanimously boycotted your Unidad Latina Legislative Conference that you organized in an attempt to garner the support of New York’s Hispanic Community.

I also hear that your so-called Unity Conference was not only boycotted by all Hispanic Senators, but by all of the elected Hispanic officials from New York State. Only some Republicans and Democrats who are not Hispanic attended.

A Legislative Hispanic Unity Conference without Hispanic Legislators in attendance? A Legislative Hispanic Unity Conference without any Hispanic Senators who happen to be your colleagues?  This speaks volumes!

Please note that the six Hispanic Senators who serve as your colleagues in the New York State Senate represent communities that are suffering from the severe Budget cuts that you pushed through this year.

I hope (and in speaking for myself) you will understand that until you build a dialogue with the six Hispanic Senators who serve as your colleagues in the New York State Senate, some of us will  have a reason not to participate in your publicity events.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Haggerty Found Guilty Of Larceny, Money Laundering


Political consultant John Haggerty was found guilty today of stealing money from the re-election campaign of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  

Haggerty was  was accused of using $1.1 million dollars of a $1.2 million dollar election ballot security plan in which the Independence Party was used to get the money to Haggerty. The $1.1 million dollars as reported by Capital Tonight here apparently went to buy a house for Haggerty's father. 



Built-In Economic Efficiencies Enable NYC Pensions to Do More with Less Dollars

OCTOBER 20, 2011, Washington, D.C. — A report issued today finds that New York City’s defined benefit Pension Plans can deliver the same retirement income at nearly 40% lower cost than a defined contribution 401(k)-type individual account.  The report, A Better Bang for New York City’s Buck, finds that defined benefit savings come from three sources:
  • Superior investment returns. The pooled nature of assets in a defined benefit plan result in higher investment returns, partly based on the lower fees that stem from economies of scale, but also because the assets are professionally—not individually—managed. The City plans’ enhanced investment returns save from 21 percent to 22 percent, according to the report.

  • Better management of longevity risk. Because pensions pool the longevity risks of a large number of individuals and can determine and plan for mortality on an actuarial basis, New York City’s defined benefit plans save between 10 percent and 13 percent compared to a typical defined contribution plan.

  • Portfolio diversification. Unlike defined contribution plans, pension assets can be invested for optimal returns. Individuals using 401(k)s, by comparison, are advised to rebalance their investments, downshifting into less risky and lower-returning assets as they age. This ability to maintain portfolio diversity in the City’s defined benefit plans saves from 4 percent to 5 percent.

The study was conducted by the National Institute on Retirement Security and Pension Trustee Advisors on behalf of the Office of New York City Comptroller John C. Liu. It is based on a similar national report conducted by NIRS, and uses current data from the five New York City retirement systems. The study found that costs associated with traditional pensions range from 36 percent to 38 percent less than 401(k)-type individual accounts.

“These findings are consistent with our national study on the cost efficiencies embedded in pension plans,” said Diane Oakley, NIRS executive director. “The analysis clearly indicates that the qualities inherent in DB plans – particularly the superior investment returns and pooling of risks and assets – fuel their fiscal efficiency. The report provides important insight for policymakers, employers and employees, who are struggling to ensure adequate retirement income with the fewest dollars possible,” Oakley added.

“Our model makes an ‘apples to apples’ calculation of the actual dollar contributions required for a DB and DC plan to achieve the same target retirement benefit,” said William Fornia, report author and president of Pension Trustee Advisors. “The efficiencies of DB plans already are well documented.  This report quantifies the magnitude of those efficiencies in New York City.”

“Calls to replace pension plans with 401k plans understandably increase when markets have returned poorly over sustained periods,” said Comptroller John C. Liu. “However, as this and other studies show, the defined pension is the most cost efficient vehicle to deliver retirement income security.”

Pension Trustee Advisors conducted the analysis under the direction of founder and president, William B. Fornia, an actuary with 30 years of experience.  Fornia also co-authored the earlier national research for NIRS. The model for the research was based on a group of 1,000 newly-hired employees, from each of the five New York City pension plans, including teachers, civil service workers, sanitation workers, police, and fire personnel.

About the National Institute on Retirement Security
The National Institute on Retirement Security, based in Washington, D.C., is a not-for-profit organization established to contribute to informed policymaking by fostering a deep understanding of the value of retirement security to employees, employers, and the economy through national research and education programs. NIRS seeks to encourage the development of public policies that enhance retirement security in America.

About Pension Trustee Advisors
Pension Trustee Advisors provide expertise, education, and customized solutions to trustees, pension fund staff, government entities, attorneys, labor and other pension decision makers.  It was founded by William Fornia, a retirement consultant and actuary with more than 30 years of industry experience.  Prior to forming PTA, Fornia held senior positions with leading actuarial firms, and also  served as corporate actuary for The Boeing Company. More information is available at www.

About the New York City Pension Funds
The New York City Pension Funds include: the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System, the New York City Police Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and the Board of Education Retirement System.  This report marks the fourth in a series produced by Comptroller Liu’s Retirement Security NYC initiative. Previous reports: Municipal Employee Compensation in New York City, The $8 Billion Question, and Sustainable or Not? NYC Pension Cost Projections through 2060, are available at  


Unemployment rates for African Americans, young people, and workers without college degrees remain stubbornly high in New York City even as the overall rate ticks downward year-on-year – highlighting entrenched disparities, according to a data analysis released today by New York City Comptroller John C. Liu. What’s more, the unemployment rate in the Bronx was nearly three times as high as in Manhattan.

“Jobs are vital to everyone regardless of race, age, or zip code. Persistent inequities in unemployment threaten the economic health of the City as a whole,” Comptroller Liu said. “It’s important that the City economy works for everyone, so the crisis like the one we’ve seen doesn’t happen again. Growth that is unequal, jobs that don’t pay, and gaps in educational achievement and infrastructure investment will only create an unequal playing field and, worse, conditions for another downturn.”

With the release of New York City unemployment data Thursday, the Comptroller’s Bureau of Fiscal and Budget Studies analyzed raw data in the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the Census Bureau and highlighted several trends among unemployed New Yorkers for the third quarter of this year.

The breakdown was designed to help provide policymakers with a snapshot of areas of persistent unemployment. Even as the City’s overall unemployment rate declined year-on-year – to 8.7 percent in the third quarter of 2011 from 9.5 percent in the same quarter of 2010, and 10.7 percent in 2009 – stubborn disparities are evident.


As the Occupy Wall Street protests highlighted joblessness among young people in particular, data showed unemployment for those under 25 years old stood at 16.9 percent, more than double that of 25 to 54 year olds (8.3 percent).

16-24 years old
25-54 years old
55 years and older
Source: NYC Comptroller’s Office from CPS microdata


The unemployment rate for African Americans remained in the double-digits, at 14.2 percent, compared with 6.6 percent for whites, 7.8 percent for Hispanics, and 7.2 percent for Asians and others.

African American
Asian and other
Source: NYC Comptroller’s Office from CPS microdata


By borough, the unemployment rate in Manhattan has fallen to 4.7 percent, while in the Bronx it is nearly three times as high at 13.6 percent.

Staten Island
Source: NYC Comptroller’s Office from CPS microdata


Disparities by education level were striking as well – 13.0 percent unemployment for those without a high school diploma and 10.5 percent for high school graduates, compared with 5.4 percent for college graduates.

No HS diploma
HS, some college
BA or more
Source: NYC Comptroller’s Office from CPS microdata

Due to the sample sizes of the CPS data, this information is broken down on a quarterly basis to establish the most accurate depiction of the unemployment trends facing New Yorkers.

The Current Population Survey is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey has been conducted for more than 50 years. CPS data are used by government policymakers and legislators as important indicators of our nation’s economic situation and for planning and evaluating many government programs. They are also used by the press, students, academics, and the general public.