Click here for a short summary of the issue. Click here for a detailed timeline.
See also the Pension Rights Center website.
Click here for ex-St. Peter's CEO John Matuska's 2011 letter to the IRS.
Click here for ex-St. Peter's VP of HR Bruce Pardo's 2011 letter to the IRS.
Haga clic aqui para verun resumen del problema en español.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Outside Influence

Investigative reporter Ellen Schultz, who wrote a 2010 Wall Street Journal article that discusses the Saint Peter's situation in the overall context of "church plans," is the author of a recent book. Retirement Heist explores how companies have in recent years used their pension funds to boost short-term profits and executive compensation at the expense of ordinary workers. This review in Forbes magazine struck a chord:
[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?