In an effort to bring local and state officials together with employee representatives to discuss problems with growing, unfunded, long-term liabilities facing retirees and municipalities in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder has created the Task Force on Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government.

“My goal for this task force is to have collaboration among legislators, state and local government officials, and employee representatives to ensure the financial stability and effective delivery of local government services for the coming decades,” Gov. Snyder said. “As we discuss this growing financial problem across the state it is imperative that we also keep retirees in mind who rely on these programs. As a state, we cannot get further ahead of too many of our local communities or residents are left behind.”

Local governments in Michigan have made promises to their employees that often cannot be met. In some cases, it’s likely the local government will never have the resources available to meet their commitments.

There are 334 local units of government in Michigan that provide either retiree health care, a retiree defined benefit pension plan, or both. The total unfunded liability for healthcare is estimated at approximately $10 billion, while the total unfunded pension liability is estimated to be around $4 billion. The problem varies across Michigan. Some plans are in good financial shape while others have fallen into increasing debt. The task force – comprised of subject matter experts who represent labor and management, investment managers, insurance and finance professionals, and legislators – has been directed by Gov. Snyder to provide recommendations on pension and health care reforms in the spring of this year.

POAM Legislative Director Kenneth E. Grabowski and Executive Board Member Dave LaMontaine attended the first task force meeting on 2/10/17. Discussions were held and there is currently no proposals or legislation recommended. The task force will continue to meet weekly in an attempt to develop solutions.

Task Force

  • Judy Allen, is the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Michigan Township Association. She previously served as Director of Government and Community Services of Oakland Schools and has chaired the Michigan State Liquor Control Commission.
  • David J. Breen, is retired as Managing Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP after over 40 years with the firm. He is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wayne State University. He will serve as co-chair.
  • Ben Carter, is Executive Vice President and Interim Leader of East GroupOperations for Trinity Health. Prior to joining Trinity Health, Carter served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Detroit Medical Center. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from the University of Michigan.He will serve as co-chair.
  • Nick Ciaramitro, is the Director of Legislation and Public Policy at Michigan AFSCME Council 25. He was previously an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Macomb County and a Representative in the Michigan House of Representatives. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit Mercy and a J.D. from Wayne State University.
  • Mark Cook, is Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree from Western Michigan University.
  • Steve Currie, is the Deputy Director of the Michigan Association of Counties. Prior to joining MAC, he was most recently operations manager at Comfort Research in Grand Rapids. He holds a degree in business administration from Hope College and an MBA from Michigan StateUniversity.
  • Bob Daddow, is the deputy county executive of Oakland County. He is a SMART board member, chairman of the Great Lakes Water Authority board of directors, is former vice-chairman of the Michigan Municipal Services Authority, and a former member of the Board of Scholars -Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Daddow is a certified personal accountant and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Central Michigan University.
  • Chris DeRose, is Chief Executive Officer for the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System. He previously served as the CEO of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the Executive Director of the State of Michigan’s Office of Retirement Services and most recently as the Vice President of client services for Strategic Accounts at lngenix, now known as Optumlnsight. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College.
  • Mark Docherty, is the President of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union. He holds an associate’s degree from Macomb Community College and a bachelor’s degree from St. Clair County Community College.
  • Ken Grabowski, is the Legislative Director of Police Officers Association of Michigan, he is a member of the Executive Board, and a Business Agent. He is also a member of the Council on Law Enforcement and Reinvention.
  • Tony Minghine, is the Executive Director & CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. He serves as a member of the Michigan Future, Inc. Leadership Council and on the Placemaking Leadership Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University.
  • Mary Schulz, is the associate director for the MSU Extension Center for Local Government, Finance and Policy. Prior to that she served as project director for the Michigan Local Government Benchmarking Consortium. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University.
  • Michael VanOverbeke, is a founding partner of VanOverbeke, Michaud & Timmony P.C. and a member of the Michigan Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wayne state University and a J.D. from the Detroit College of Law.
  • Paula Zelenko, is the Mayor of the City of Burton. She was a member of the Burton city council from 1991- 2000 and 2008 – 2010. From 2001- 2006 she was the 50th District State Representative. She is a graduate of the Ross Medical Education Center, Parker Chiropractic Schools.
  • Other unions.

Legislative Representation

  • Rep. Tom Albert, is the representative for District 86, which makes up portions of Kent and Ionia County. He is certified as a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from Michigan State University.
  • Rep. Andy Schor, is in his third term representing residents of the 68th House District, which includes most of the city of Lansing and all of Lansing Township. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.
  • Senator Jim Stamas, is the senator for the 36th district. He has been elected to be the Assistant Majority Floor Leader for the 98th Legislature. He holds an associate’s degree in business management from Delta College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University.
  • Senator Rebecca Warren, is the senator for the 18th district. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

Ex-officio

  • Nick Khouri, Treasurer of Michigan
  • Pat McPharlin, Director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services
  • John Walsh, Director of Strategic Policy for Governor Snyder

Read more about Governor Snyder’s task force intentions HERE.