Playing the percentages

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Playing the percentages

One only needs to look at the current state of our country’s economy to realize why UVA employees should remain under their state classified staff status rather than switching to the University’s private plan [“Staff ponders HR plan choice,” UVA News, October 7, 2008]. Imagine where employees retiring right now under the new plan would be. If they remain a classified staff employee, they keep their rock solid Virginia Retirement System (VRS) defined benefit retirement plan, which is not negatively affected by the economy and/or stock market. UVA wants employees to switch to their new plan because they will only contribute 4 percent of employee’s salaries to their retirement plan. Under VRS they must contribute at least 8 percent.
 
This is only one tiny piece of the new plan that negatively affects UVA’s staff employees. Many other apparent and hidden negatives lie beneath the University’s hype.
 
Dena Bowers 
Albemarle County

Editor’s note: UVA Human Resources responds to Bowers’ claims as follows: The figures the reader cites are incorrect. There is a “member” contribution and an “employer” contribution, but UVA makes the total contribution for both member and employer. UVA puts 5 percent of an employee’s salary in the employee’s member contribution account in his/her name. UVA also makes a contribution to an employer pool account that is based on a rate established every two years by VRS and approved by the General Assembly. That number varies from year to year based on the performance of the fund and other factors; in this past year, it was 11.23 percent.

Furthermore, there is no direct correlation between the employer contribution and the employee’s retirement. An employee’s retirement in VRS, which is known as a defined benefit or guaranteed annuity plan, is determined by a formula, and is not based on the accumulated contributions in the account. The formula is based on an employee’s age, years of service, and salary at highest-paid consecutive 36 months.

The Optional Retirement Plan is a defined contribution plan in which retirement benefits are based on contributions and earnings on your account balances over the course of your working years, at varying rates of interest depending on your portfolio. Again, the institution makes the total contribution for you. Each pay period UVA contributes 10.4 percent of an employee’s pay into an account on his/her behalf with the provider they selected.

The reader may have our Optional Retirement Plan confused with the Medical Center’s, which does contribute 4 percent into their employees’ accounts.

Six points of light

As we prepare for this great historical election we as Americans should realize that the only selections are Barack Obama for president and Joe Biden for vice president. The Obama team will do the following.

1. Put our economy back on track.

2. Bring all people together.

3. Remember our children’s education.

4. President Obama will also raise the fuel standards for our cars and trucks.

5. He will not forget the poor and needy.

6. He, President Obama, will always stand up for justice and equality for all people regardless of race, creed, color or gender.

The Republicans have hurt the American people; the last eight years have been so bad for all of us as a people. I want to note that America is sick and in dire need of a doctor due to the policies of the Republican Party.

We must move forward with Barack Obama and Joe Biden. I feel that we will have many difficult days due to this present administration but, as Democrats, we should fight the fight of making what America should be for all of our people.

I feel also that the Obama team will also work on these racial problems that exist partly because of the Republicans (uncaringness) and their turning their backs on this problem.

We should also realize that we will need Tom Perriello for Congress [“Can he go the distance?” October 7, 2008], for he is in tune with the needs of America and Virginia. We should understand that Mark Warner is the only selection for the US Senate, and that he will make a difference for us as Virginians and as Americans.So I say to you today, support Perriello and support Warner. Together they all will help make America what it should be.

Winston Churchill Gooding
Charlottesville

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