TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback appointed an attorney, a cattleman and three people in the financial services industry Monday to a new commission that will study whether Kansas should move toward a 401(k)-style pension plan for new teachers and government workers.
The commission was created under a law enacted this year to address the long-term financial problems facing the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The study panel can look at a variety of options, but Brownback has said repeatedly that he favors starting a 401(k)-style plan or a "hybrid" for new public employees.
KPERS projects a $7.7 billion shortfall between revenue and the benefits promised to teachers and government workers through 2033. The new law also increases the state's annual contributions to KPERS and requires most public employees to choose between paying a higher portion of their salaries toward their pensions or seeing their future retirement benefits cut.
Those changes won't take effect until the 13-member study commission reviews pension issues and makes recommendations to the Legislature. The panel must draft proposals by early January, and lawmakers must consider them by June 2012.
A defined-contribution system, mirroring 401(k) plans in the private sector, would base each worker's benefits on the investment earnings from what they and the state contribute toward their pensions. Existing KPERS plans guarantee benefits up front, based on an employee's years of service and final salary.
Brownback's appointees include Edward Condon of Leawood, an executive in a capital management firm; Christopher Long of Mission Hills, president and founder of a capital management firm; and Richard Stumpf, a Wichita financial planner.
He also named Paul Seyferth, a member of a Kansas City-area law firm that's represented management in employment litigation, and Brian Winter, a Dodge City rancher and cattle feedlot manager.
They'll join two members already appointed by Hensley: Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, and Rebecca Proctor, a Shawnee attorney who has represented private-sector and public unions.
Yet to announce their two appointments are O'Neal; Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton; and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.