This week the Shawnee City Commission visited a proposed ordinance amendment to the city employee retirement system.

This week the Shawnee City Commission visited a proposed ordinance amendment to the city employee retirement system.

Assistant City Manager Chance Allison said the city offers a defined contributions plan as a benefit for its employees.

“All new employees are required to participate in the plan, and many of the longterm employees also participate (those who aren't taking part in the pension plan),” he said.

The amendment would add two things:

• a variable funding mechanism, where in the event when the budget allowed, the city could offer incentives or reward employees by contributing an additional percentage on their behalf;

• a vesting change would take place.

“Currently, in the employer's contribution to the plan it takes seven years (for employees) to have access to those funds, should they leave,” he said. “It has to be forfeited back to the plan.”

The amendment would change the seven-year vesting to a five-year vesting plan.

“It would tier to vesting,” he said.

Allison said each year employees would have 20 percent added to the funding: first 20 percent, then 40 percent, (and so on) … until the full amount would be available in the fifth year.

“The five-year graduated vesting is more in line with what commercial businesses do,” Mayor Richard Finley said.

Allison said the changes will offer more attractive incentives and rewards to city employees, and it also helps when hiring new employees.

The amendments are in following with industry standards, Allison said.

Interim City Manager Eric Benson said he and Allison examined several communities in and out of the state, as well as industry standards.

“We want to send a signal to our employees that we care about, examine and consider their personal wellbeing,” he said. “This was one of the largest items identified in my meetings with employees — access to those funds.”

City Commissioners approved the ordinance 6-1, with Ward 3 Commissioner James Harrod being the only dissenting vote.