The Bethel City Council voted unanimously to support an effort to reform a part of the state retirement system, known as PERS, on September 26, 2018.
The Alaska Municipal League has been trying to get the Alaska Legislature to make the retirement changes for some time now, and the Bethel City Council has signed on. Vice Mayor Fred Watson called the vote. Council member Mark Springer explained that there are components to PERS that can and have cost the city money in the past, particularly when they do away with job classifications or create new ones.
“The requirements that really make it difficult for any municipality that’s in PERS to remove positions permanently, even though they may have a bad financial situation; they have to either keep those on the books or keep their PERS for them,” Springer said.
Mayor Richard Robb, who strongly advocated for the reform, did not attend the meeting, but the vote was unanimous.