Abele directs hiring of outside counsel to propose actions to limit pension “backdrops”

    Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said he is directing the county’s corporation counsel to hire outside attorneys to recommend specific actions to curtail the continuing huge “backdrop” pension payments to retirees.
    “It’s clear that not enough has been done to rein in or end these outrageous payments,” Abele said. “It’s time to focus on this problem.”
    “The county must aggressively explore all options and take whatever steps it can to avoid these outlandish backdrop payments,” Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb said.
    The lump-sum backdrop payments to retirees have totaled near $200 million since they began 10 years ago, which was part of the Milwaukee County pension scandal that resulted in the ouster of several Milwaukee County officials, including Milwaukee County Executive Thomas Ament.
    Last month, a total of $14 .2 million in lump-sum backdrop payments were made to 79 retirees. One retiree received a $1.03 million lump-sum payment, and another was paid $822,073. Forty-one other retirees received more than $100,000 each in lump-sum payments last month. These retirees also are receiving monthly pensions and in many cases received additional payments for unused sick leave and vacation, Abele said.
    "I’m never going to let the lack of progress in the past stop me from trying to make improvements,” he said. “County taxpayers, who are footing these bills, deserve no less.”
    – BizTimes Milwaukee

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