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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Commissioners approve changes to employee retirement plan

  • Current city employees will soon be faced with the decision between retirement plans.
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  • Current city employees will soon be faced with the decision between retirement plans.
     
    City Manager Brian McDougal initially proposed that the commission freeze the current pension plan, which allows employees a set monthly amount for the rest of their lives after retirement. He suggested freezing that plan so employees still receive the money they earned in that plan up to July 1, and switching to a 401-K-type plan with both employee and the city contributing.
     
    Commissioners instead voted to adopt a Pension Choice plan, which would give employees a one-time opportunity to decide to stay with their pension – and pay a little bit more toward it – or to go with the 401-K-type plan. The 401-K-type plan comes with a raise for employees, along with city contributions of 5, 10, and 15 percent, depending upon how long the employee has been with the city.
     
    New employees will not have an opportunity to receive a pension, but instead will be automatically enrolled in the 401-K plan. Their city contributions will be at 3, 6, and 9 percent, also based upon how long they have been with the city.
     
    The change will save the city between 7 and 10 percent of their overall payroll.
     
    Commissioner Keith Hall said he believes the plan will stay competitive with other cities and likes the idea of giving employees the option between the two plans.
     
    “I think it’s good for the city,” he said.
     
    Commissioner James Harrod disagreed. He said he is concerned the current pension plan is what attracts employees and when the pension plan disappears over time, he’s afraid people will be hesitant to work for the city.
     
    Jeff Bartley, of Water’s Edge Aquatic Design, gave a presentation at the meeting over the design of the Shawnee Municipal Pool project. He said they are trying to save as much of the structure as they can in order to save money so rather than starting over with the bathhouse, the plan is to remodel for more sufficient use.
     
    The pool design has a play structure area with a shallow area for infants and small children. Past that area, the plan is to have an area with a current channel for kids or those wanting to participate in aerobic activities. The plan also includes lap lanes, which John Ayers, President of the Pool Committee, said he hopes will bring competitive swimming meets to Shawnee.
     
    The pool plan also includes an elevated diving area, water slides, an aquatic rock climb area, a spray ground area, and a shaded concession, which will also be gated off from the pool when the pool is closed so it can be used for other events at the park.
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    “Shawnee needs a ‘wow’…something people can say, ‘let me show you this,’” said Mayor Wes Mainord.
     
    The commission has already committed their part to the pool project and the pool committee will raise the rest so it will be a joint project.
     
    Mike Jackson, operations manager for the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, presented a capital improvement budget request for the Shawnee Civic and Cultural Development Authority.
     
    Jackson listed improvements needed for the 2013-2014 year that include: new updated phone system, signage on the grounds directing people, AV equipment for three meeting rooms in the upstairs conference center, new entry door in the Otto Krause section C, security systems for comfort stations on the grounds, (which is requested after repetitive vandalism of the washer/dryer units) four fans to be added in the Otto Krause section D, and a vent-a-hood system in the Otto Krause concession area.
     
    The commission voted 5-2 to approve a 60-day extension for the Convention and Visitors Bureau contract with the Greater Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce. This extension was required because the chamber has been unable to secure a company to do their yearly audit, as required by the city contract.
     
    Chamber President/CEO Nancy Keith said previously that the chamber had been having trouble finding someone to do the audit, but did receive bids and anticipated the audit would be completed well before the 60-day extension was complete.
     
    Commissioners Steve Smith and Pam Stephens voted against the extension, after Smith spoke at length about unanswered questions he had been asking, including an accounts receivable exchange from the CVB to the chamber. Smith said he had asked for an explanation for this exchange and had not yet received an answer.
     
    The commission did not move to accept the CVB budget, deciding instead to wait until the audit had been completed and found to be satisfactory.
     
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