May, Barry Don’t Want Retirement Plan Back Pay, But They Will Seek Resolution For Other Employees

June 10, 2021

Escambia County commissioners Steven Barry and Lumon May say they don’t want any back payments from a 401(a) annuity retirement plan settlement, but they will continue to work to help other senior level county employees that were not told about the program.

Barry told NorthEscambia.com Wednesday afternoon that the overall issue is bigger than just the board.

“There is a bigger issue,” he said. “The bigger issue is how this information (about the 401(a)) is being distributed.”

The 401(a) annuity program is available under state law and is offered only to senior management service employees and commissioners that opt out of the Florida Retirement System (FRS). It’s available statewide, not just in Escambia County.

Many employees, along with current and past commissioners, have said they were never informed of the annuity plan’s existence, and they lost significant retirement revenue as a result.

Barry asked the state ethics commission if the county commission could vote on a settlement plan that would allow payments to him, other commissioners and other county employees that were not told about the annuity plan by the county’s human resources department. The ethics commission agreed that the county commission could vote on paying lost earnings from the 401(a) plan to impacted commissioners and county employees.

At the county commission’s last meeting, May seconded a motion by Barry to move forward with discussion to discuss the program, and May also seconded an ameded motion to seek a legal opinion on the matter first.

“Quite frankly, in my opinion, this action, it’s not about county commissioners,” May said during the BOCC meeting. “It’s about those employees who have served in the dark without knowledge of this program and that they should have the opportunity to exercise any retirement benefits, not for themselves, but the sacrifice that they made for their children and those they may leave upon their death and their retirement.”

The payout could total as much as $1.9 million, including just over $225,000 each for Barry and May. But both commissioners now say they will not seek the money for themselves.

“Personally, I’m not going to seek any back payments, but I am extremely supportive of continuing to seek a legal opinion about a fair and equitable resolution for our senior management employees, many of whom were never informed of even the existence of the 401(a) plan, much less the details of the plan,” Barry said in a text message to NorthEscambia.com Wednesday afternoon.

“We have a responsibility to advocate for the fair treatment of all our eligible employees, not only a select few,” Barry continued.

For an earlier story and more background, click or tap here.

Comments

14 Responses to “May, Barry Don’t Want Retirement Plan Back Pay, But They Will Seek Resolution For Other Employees”

  1. Anne on June 13th, 2021 8:04 am

    “SENIOR MANAGEMENT” ?????
    Can anyone provide a listing of the Positions considered “Senior Management”??
    Not interested in naming people, although it should be Public Record.
    Just curious which jobs qualify for this very nice 401(a) Investment Plan.
    Thanks….A.

  2. Scott on June 12th, 2021 7:06 pm

    No one working for the county gets guidance on retirement packages. You have to research and choose for yourself. So if it is that way for everyone else why is this an issue?

  3. Jerry on June 11th, 2021 11:17 am

    There are so many double dippers still working for the counties and state that the entire drop system stinks of corruption .

  4. DK on June 10th, 2021 10:55 pm

    Stumpknocker 1000% Correct !

  5. Duke of Wawbeek on June 10th, 2021 5:26 pm

    Clever

  6. BT on June 10th, 2021 3:20 pm

    Commissioners should have to recuse themselves from voting to enrich themselves.

  7. William Reynolds on June 10th, 2021 12:55 pm

    “I seem to remember from one of the first stories that Commissioner Bender stated that he read the option of enrolling in the 401(a) plan ”

    Commissioner Bender said he researched options for FIVE MONTHS and found the information.

  8. Pensacola mom on June 10th, 2021 12:50 pm

    I seem to remember from one of the first stories that Commissioner Bender stated that he read the option of enrolling in the 401(a) plan and researched it and enrolled in that plan after doing his research. If he was able to do this I don’t understand why no one else saw the option or am I missing something.

  9. Kane on June 10th, 2021 10:32 am

    @Retired You mean their employee handbook?? Or perhaps you mean they should be fired for not reading it?

    No “back payments” for high ranking elected officials that already get hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement leave office early and then go into lucrative careers and still get up to 7200.00 a month in retirement.

  10. Stumpknocker on June 10th, 2021 8:59 am

    Hard to believe no one knew about this. All of them have such a high education, just ask them. At first read this sounds like some Century Town Counsel business.

  11. Emily Fouche' on June 10th, 2021 8:19 am

    I think the sharks sighted at the beach the other day were circling and looking for our Country Commissioners. The sharks have got them on the run now. Let’s see how far they go.

  12. retired on June 10th, 2021 7:07 am

    need to FIRE the person, that was responsable to inform these people.

  13. Oversight on June 10th, 2021 7:03 am

    “Personally, I’m not going to seek any back payments, but I am extremely supportive of continuing to seek a legal opinion about a fair and equitable resolution for our senior management employees…”

    What is fair and equitable would be for the legislature to end the program and put everyone in FRS retirement system. LOL! We know that’ll never happen because they’re part of this taxpayer funded money grab. There should never be a double standard for a select few. By the way, just exactly what is the statute number for Florida law that allows for this?

  14. SueB on June 10th, 2021 6:48 am

    Leave it up to The People to vote on this scam!





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