Was asked a question the other day about Knoxville mayoral candidate Ivan Harmon (left).
Does he receive three or four pensions for his time as a city employee, city councilman, county commissioner and school board member (way back when it was under the city's purview)?
The quick answer is: No, he doesn't.
He gets one – from the city. And a 401k – from the county.
That was pretty much as far as I was going to go with the information. But because I'm under company policy to do a blog (despite claims otherwise from our Web guru), I need to post something.
Also, if one person was curious, maybe others are, too.
And pensions are a big deal right now. They're crippling governments everywhere. And Knoxville officials have even put together a committee to study the city's retirement plan.
So, I figure it will be an issue during the upcoming city election. And someone is bound to ask Harmon about it then.
Here's the deal (and all this information is public record):
Harmon gets a pension from the city for his time in the engineering department and on the council. He gets a 401k from his time on the commission. He apparently doesn't get anything for the two years he served on the school board.
His city pension is a complicated formula that I won't go into. But he's credited with a little more than 20 years of service with the city (12 years on the council, eight in the engineering department). Normally, he would get $1,983.42 a month in pension, payable for life.
However, Harmon elected to choose an alternate beneficiary to receive his pension. Upon his death, he receives $1,761 a month. His beneficiary will one day receive $1,286.09 a month. (By the way, it felt kind of ghoulish typing those last two sentences.)
Harmon, who began working in the engineering department in January 2002, retired “for pension purposes” in January 2010. Yes, he still worked but he enrolled in the city's delayed retirement option program (DROP). Under the plan, he can work for two more years. The pension money during those years accumulates into another money pot, and when the employee retires, he/she gets it paid out in a lump sum.
Harmon didn't stick around for the full two years, but he will get a one-time payment of $20,624.64.
On a side note, the pension formula is based on the two highest years of salary. I checked to see if he got any unusual last minute raises. He didn't.
Like all employees, he received a 2.5 increase in wages in July 2008 and in July 2009. (He also got $120 longevity bonus those years.) In total, Harmon left making $56,962.
In regards to his 401k, he gets whatever he paid in. Those numbers aren't as available as the city numbers, which fall under the state's open records laws.