Cypen & Cypen
SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
Stephen H. Cypen, Esq., Editor
Raymond T. Edmondson, chief executive officer of Florida Public Pension Trustees Association has responded to a Miami Herald editorial entitled “How to fix pension mess,” which Edmondson asserts was a collection of hyperbole and insinuations about government pensions. The entire rest of the piece is reproduced below:
Ray is right: the continual “sniping” at public pensions is hardly productive. Working together, as always, is the best solution.
Pension plan executives are probably spending more time in the office these days because of the current financial markets. Yet a recent poll reported by Employee Benefit News shows that many are putting out administrative fires and monitoring investment managers, instead of focusing on new investment strategies. Defined benefit directors report that half of their time is spent on administrative activities (27%) or monitoring investment managers (23%). Executives, however, are spending less than one-fifth of their time doing homework necessary to develop new investment strategies, which entails evaluating investment managers and researching new asset classes. Other key findings from the poll include:
It’s not realistic to expect success at better aligning assets and liabilities if resources are spending half their time on administrative functions and monitoring performance of managers. Plan sponsors are realizing that success will only be brought about by changes to the current process.
Halpert appealed a judgment of the United States District Court granting Manhattan Apartments’ motion for summary judgment as to his claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that an employer may be liable for discrimination by third parties, including independent contractors, that the employer authorizes to make hiring decisions on its behalf. Because the question of whether Manhattan Apartments actually or apparently authorized a third-party to make hiring decisions for it with respect to Halpert turns upon issues of material fact, the court vacated the lower court judgment. ADEA makes it unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of an individual’s age. Brooks, who interviewed Halpert and allegedly told him that he was “too old” for a position showing rental apartments, was an independent contractor and not an employee of Manhattan Apartments. The district court held that ADEA does not apply to independent contractors. However, the reviewing court held that ADEA’s prohibition applies regardless of whether an employer uses its employees to interview applicants for open positions or whether it uses intermediaries, such as independent contractors, to fill that role. If a company gives an individual authority to interview job applicants and make hiring decisions on the company's behalf, then the company may be held liable if that individual improperly discriminates against applicants on basis of age. Halpert v. Manhattan Apartments, Inc., Case No. 07-4074 (U.S. 2d Cir., September 10, 2009).
ust as it was for the rest of the country, the period of 1999 through 2005 was a time of exponential growth for Prince George's County, Maryland, due in large part to a booming housing market. In 2005, however, the County's housing market began to decline. The decline was widespread and grew in scope well into 2008. The market decline was not unique to Prince George's County. In fact, the entire state of Maryland, and virtually every state in the country, experienced a severe economic downturn as a result of a chain of events set into motion by a flailing housing market. The downturn led to a significant decrease in revenue for the County, which then caused a budget shortfall. In response to the budget shortfall, the County furloughed approximately 5,900 employees. Various Prince George’s County unions brought a federal court action against County for declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief as a result of adoption and implementation of the furlough plan. The district court judge was mindful of the present state of the economy. He recognized that many state and local governments had experienced and will continue to experience drastic revenue shortfalls. Prince George’s County like other counties and municipalities, was struggling with budget deficits and was searching for alternatives to layoffs in midst of a global recession. While adequate deference must be accorded to the fiscal decisions of government officials, the court could not merely give lip service to the fundamental principles that undergird the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution. To do otherwise, even in these severe economic times, would sanction the county running roughshod over the unions, which in good faith, negotiated a binding contract with the County. The court found that the County’s actions, while permissible under County Personnel Law, violated the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution because the County exceeded its discretion and chose substantially to impair its contractual obligations to address an arguably foreseeable budget shortfall when, in light of the surrounding circumstances, other more moderate alternatives would have served its purposes equally well. Fraternal Order of Police v. Prince George's County, Maryland, Case No. AW-08-2455 (D. Md., August 18, 2009).
Paul Dannenbaum has been working as a stockbroker since 1935, and has no plans to retire anytime soon. According to justnews.com, the 93-year-old works from 7 a.m until 4 p.m. every day. Dannenbaum, who got his start at a firm in Philadelphia in 1935, works out of his Delray Beach home and is very computer savvy. Once the market closes, the great-grandfather of two works out with a trainer. He has been working with weights for three and a half years, and can do pushups on his fingers and toes. Go ahead, try it. (When we came across this item, it reminded us about Roy R. Neuberger, who turned 106 in July. Neuberger, founder the eponymous investment firm Neuberger Berman, was orphaned at age 12 and arrived on Wall Street in 1929, seven months before Black Tuesday. He is still there.)
A Montana police officer who wrote on his Facebook page that there should be a law allowing police to take people to jail for being "stupid" has resigned. Law.com reports that former officer Cody Anderson said his resignation was in the best interest of the police department, apologized for his online comment and said it did not reflect an attitude or atmosphere within the police department. The brilliant posting came to light after a lawsuit against the city, Anderson and other officers, alleged deprivation of rights stemming from a wrongful arrest. The lawsuit alleged that entries in Anderson's Facebook profile indicated he had a lack of respect for citizens' rights and a willingness to abuse his position of authority. First person actually charged with stupidity: Cody Anderson.
Sanford Kahn, business author and speaker, has published a new little book entitled “The 7 Basic Precepts that Govern Life and Events.” Here are the 7 precepts, which were developed to give people a different and realistic view on life and events -- devoid of popular myths and seductive illusions:
Incidentally, Sanford Kahn and your editor graduated high school and college together, many moons ago.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.
“You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.” Woody Allen
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