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.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Is the Tide Turning?

We may be witnessing a significant shift in the IRS's stance on the "church plan" issue, according to a recent article in Pensions & Investments magazine. It begins, "The IRS' long-term trend of allowing church-affiliated defined benefit pension plans to be exempt from federal pension rules could reverse course after an unusual decision by the agency and a flurry of lawsuits." You can read the article here. The article covers the IRS' recent decision to revoke the church plan status of Hospital Center at Orange, and the multiple ‒ now counting five ‒ class action lawsuits recently filed against Catholic hospital conglomerates including Saint Peter's. One lawyer quoted in the article opines that the IRS may delay further church plan decisions until the lawsuits are resolved. We shouldn't count on this. Take advantage of the golden opportunity granted by Saint Peter's re-application for church plan status to make your voice heard: submit a comment letter by the June 28 deadline, and convince your fellow employees and retirees to do the same.

Saint Peter's will be holding town hall meetings this coming Thursday and Friday, June 6 and 7, to discuss its new SPIRE strategic plan; the meetings will be chaired by Saint Peter's COO Kenneth Sable. Administration states that "employees are urged to ask questions" and that questions can be submitted in advance via a "question submission box." It's unclear if any questions not submitted via the box will be addressed. It's also unclear whether any of Saint Peter's administration responsible for the pension plan (CEO Rak, CFO Stoldt, or VP of HR Ballesteros) will attend. Still, if you attend one of these meetings and any of the above individuals are present, it may provide an opportunity to ask questions about the pension plan in a public forum. Clearly, the administration would rather address pension questions in private. If you or someone in your meeting asks a pension-related question, kindly let us know in the comments how it went. Thanks!