County retirees to receive 'bare minimum' match

Keith Ready | For the Courier

County employees participating in the county pension benefits package will now be paying more than the county match after the Cannon County Board of Commissioners voted May 2 to drop the county's match from 8.55 percent all the way down to the required minimum of 1.94 percent.

Participating county employees pay 5 percent into their pension benefits program.

The county's pension benefits plan is through the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS), which on March 7 issued a letter to Cannon County Executive Brent Bush about the county's status of valuation of the benefits plan.

The letter from the director of James Wayman stated, "We encourage you to consider electing to pay a higher rate (rather than the minimum) to protect against upward pressure on employee rates in the future."

A report accompanied the letter which showed the county has 104 inactive employees or beneficiaries currently receiving benefits, while 256 more inactive are eligible but are not yet receiving benefits.

194 more on top of that are active employees, bringing a total of 554 Cannon County employees covered by the benefit terms.

The first motion the commission considered on May 2 was to lower the 8.55 percent to 5 percent to match what the participating employees were putting in. That motion failed 5 to 4 with Corey Davenport abstaining since his spouse, Clerk and Master Dana Davenport, works for the county.

Jeannine Floyd, Jim Bush, Kim Davenport and Ronnie Mahaffey all voted to lower the county's matching percentage rate.

Because the rate had to be determined and ensuing paperwork turned in by May 31 for the next fiscal year, Mahaffey quickly pointed that out and then immediately made a motion to dump the match to the bare minimum of 1.94 percent.

The motion was quickly seconded by Floyd. The motion passed 5-4 with Randy Gannon joining Floyd, Mahaffey, Bush and Kim Davenport in voting yes.