Actuaries Botch CT Town’s OPEB Calculations

June 9, 2011 ( – Westport, Connecticut's obligations for retired employee benefits could be several million dollars higher than previously documented, actuaries told the Board of Finance.

That’s because a 2008 actuarial report on benefit costs apparently omitted more than 500 town workers from its calculations. Westport News reports that the oversight was discovered in late February by the town’s contracted actuarial firm, Pentegra Retirement Services, and Finance Director John Kondub as they reviewed the town’s fiscal commitment to its Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) fund.  

Chief Actuary Jeff Kissel said that while the town had approximately 1,070 active and retired employees enrolled in pension plans as of June 30, 2010, only about 550 individuals were factored into 2008 actuarial projections for OPEB costs, according to Westport News.   

The news report said the miscount further complicates the Board of Finance’s decision on a new tax rate for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The 2011-12 town budget approved last month by the Representative Town Meeting underfunds the OPEB contribution by more than $1.5 million. To close that gap, board members have indicated they may raise the tax rate.  

Kondub said he confirmed the discrepancy between the pension plan and OPEB totals in March, but uncertainty among town officials about the cause of that inconsistency has delayed Pentegra’s completion of the 2011 actuarial report. The 2008 report was prepared by Retirement Services Group, a firm that was acquired by Pentegra in August 2008 after the report was completed.  

Pentegra plans to calculate a new annual required contribution (ARC) for the OPEB by next month, but Kissel declined to estimate the impact that the uncounted employees may have on the town’s OPEB liabilities.