Public Agency Early Termination Incentive Programs Are Subject to Special Tax Rules

By Jeff Chang

With the looming specter of COVID-related budget shortfalls, many cities and special districts are thinking about early termination incentives as a way to reduce payroll costs. If your city or public agency is considering the use of early termination incentives, you should be familiar with the special tax rules that could come into play.

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Are Your Agency’s Retirement Plan Committee Meetings Subject to the Brown Act?

By Jeff Chang

In addition to properly identifying your retirement plan fiduciaries, and substituting a knowledgeable administrative committee in place of your governing board or council, California local agencies also need to consider whether the meetings of their administrative committee are subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act – California’s open meeting law.

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The Duties and Responsibilities of a 457(b) or 401(a) Plan Administrator

By Jeff Chang

A surprisingly large number of public employees accept appointment as the plan administrator, or a member of the administrative committee, for their agency’s 457(b) or 401(a) plan. An explanation of the typical duties and responsibilities of a plan administrator should help agencies and their staff better match available staff with the demands of the position.

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Tips On Selecting a Retirement Plan Adviser When You Can’t Meet Them in Person

By Jeff Chang

Over the past several months, we have seen a number of public agency clients struggle through the process of evaluating and selecting a retirement plan adviser based only on generic questionnaires, a few phone calls, and an occasional video conference. It’s hard to choose a “trusted adviser” without meeting them face to face.

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Take Your Pick – Employees Allowed to Choose Between Future 401(a) Plan Contributions and Future HRA Contributions

By Jeff Chang

A recently issued IRS private letter ruling may provide public agencies and their employees with another way to give employees more control over the types of retirement benefits they will eventually receive.

As we previously reported, governmental employers can provide their employees with the benefits of tax-free reimbursements from a health expense reimbursement arrangement. However, HRAs only can be funded with employer contributions – employees cannot make salary reduction contributions. Governmental employers also can make pre-tax retirement contributions to either a 457(b) plan or a 401(a) plan, but, because governmental employers generally cannot maintain 401(k) plans, employee pre-tax elective contributions generally must be made to a 457(b) plan with its lower contribution limits, not to a 401(a) plan.

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