[Schultz] explains that the current retirement crisis is “not a demographic accident. It was manufactured by an alliance of two groups: top executives and their facilitators in the retirement industry—benefits consultants, insurance companies and banks.” Executives are viewed “as beleaguered captains valiantly trying to keep their overloaded ships from being sunk in a perfect storm. In reality, they’re the silent pirates who looted the ships and left them to sink, along with the retirees, as they sailed away safely in their lifeboats.”St. Peter's employees will recognize the reference to outside consultants. In early-December town-hall meetings, St. Peter's administration told employees that "outside consultants" drove the 2006 decision to pursue "church plan" status. Then on December 28, St. Peter's CEO Ronald Rak—in the same letter that clamped the lid on employee communication on the subject for the next two months—announced that "new outside experts" were shaping the retirement plan strategy going forward.
Outside benefits consultants continue to have the ear of St. Peter's executives, while employees are shut out. Whose interests are served by these consultants? Given the recent history documented by Ms. Schultz, and the stonewall erected by St. Peter's administration, is it any wonder employees and retirees are concerned about the future of the plan?