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Seattle City Employees' Retirement System (SCERS)
Government Performance and Finance (GPF) Committee
Councilmember Tim Burgess, Chair, GPF Committee

Developing a sustainable retirement system

During its City budget deliberations in the fall of 2010, the City Council issued a statement of legislative intent directing staff to develop alternatives to the current Seattle City Employees' Retirement System (SCERS) benefit.  In 2008, the system's investment portfolio experienced a 26.8% loss, forcing a raise in contribution rates from the City and employees.

The Council's action created an interdepartmental team (IDT) to study the issue throughout 2011 and into 2012. The IDT worked with the national actuarial firm Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Co. to design alternate pension plans that will lower benefit costs in the future. The team delivered its report to the Council and City union representatives in April, 2012.

The report presents five alternatives for future City employees (new hires) projected to save between $1.1 billion and $2.8 billion over the next 30 years.  All five plans are projected to provide enough income to allow employees maintain to their standard of living in retirement, in conjunction with Social Security.

The pension conversation between the City and its labor unions is ongoing. If you wish to submit comments or questions about this report, please email the Council's Labor Relations Policy Committee Chair Tim Burgess at

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