Do you remember how it felt watching the stock market plummet during the 2008 recession? Millions of people saw a lifetime of savings in 401(k) plans evaporate when the market tanked out. Many Connecticut residents are still recovering. But you know who didn’t have to weather the storm?
Connecticut university professors.
In 2009 Connecticut professors filed a grievance against the state to allow them to switch from 401(k) style plans (which they had chosen to enroll in) to a defined benefit plan run by the costly and underfunded state pension system.
The unions backed the professors and won a one-time opportunity to switch from their defined contribution plans to the pension system. That was in 2010 but as of 2015 they are still allowed to switch from one plan to the other even after they have already retired!
One of the benefits of a pension with the state of Connecticut is that it is nearly impossible to have your pension taken away.
Case in point: Ellis K. Hagstrom was a worker for the Department of Developmental Services. Over the course of his 25 years of employment he sexually abused two very disabled women. He was finally caught and convicted in 2014.
Hagstrom’s actions were so deplorable that revoking his pension and health benefits should be a no-brainer but the Attorney General’s Office says its hands are tied.
If Connecticut lawmakers do not muster the strength to make such common-sense changes to the way state pensions are handled, than we may have a long road ahead of us to get Connecticut back on track.