Mayor Karl Dean on Tuesday appointed five members, including former Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely, to a Study and Formulation Committee that will review Metro employee benefits.
The five-member benefits review committee, which the Metro Charter requires the mayor to appoint every five years, has been tasked with studying the benefits, contributions, extent of coverage and actuarial soundness of Metro’s disability plan, retirement plan and medical and life insurance plans.
Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling has said one item on the table will be exploring the possibility of increasing the length of required Metro service to 10 years for an employee to receive Metro pensions. Currently, employees must complete five years of government service to receive a pension.
“We’ve had to absorb nearly $22 million in increased benefit costs over the last three years, while the size of our operating budget as a whole has decreased by more than $46 million,” Riebeling said in a statement. “While the Study and Formulating Committee is a required regular review process of our benefit plans, the work of these committee members will be that much more important given our economic environment.”
Nicely, the former longtime director of the Metro Development and Housing Agency, had been rumored in recent weeks as a possible addition to Dean’s administration. Mayor’s office spokeswoman Janel Lacy has denied those rumors.
Other appointments to the Study and Formulation Committee are Dot Berry, retired director of the Metro Human Resources Department; Steve Farner, assistant regional manager for the Laborers’ International Union of North America; Betty Nixon, a former Metro council member; and Bruce Young, retired audit partner at Ernst & Young.