A short-lived, perk-laden retirement plan has paid off big for some top Hallandale Beach officials who helped set it up a decade ago — but today it’s costing city taxpayers extra millions of dollars.
Among those benefitting: Three former city managers who played key roles in developing the retirement plan or subsequent add-on benefits are now collecting pensions that are at or near their highest annual salaries when they were active city employees.
• Mike Good, whose highest salary while working for the city was $212,000, now receives more than $210,000.
• Mark Antonio, whose highest pay was $165,000, now receives $127,800 annually.
• Randolph J. “R.J.” Intindola, under whose administration the retirement plan was adopted, earned a top salary of $118,664. He now receives $111,700 annually from the city.
Approved and implemented by the City Commission in October 2001, the plan’s key provision granted those ranking city officials retroactive credit for prior years of service — even if they were in another retirement plan.
The Professional Management Retirement Plan also boosted pensions for top city bureaucrats in other costly ways. For example, the plan was calculated to equate the sedentary desk jobs of department heads and their assistants to the “high risk” street duties of city police and firefighters.
City Commissioners were also eligible for the plan, but because their pay was so low, and their length of service varied, the financial impact was minimal.
In 2010, ex-city manager Good was fired after eight years due to his chronic work absences and for other reasons. Today, at age 51, Good receives a monthly pension of $17,522, or more than $210,000 a year. His highest regular salary was $212,000.
But a higher monthly pension isn’t the only way that Good and his fellow city managers have benefitted from the management retirement plan.
Good, who started working for the city as a welder in the 1980s, cashed out $786,000 from his city Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) savings account a few months before he departed. The account, established under the retirement plan, was funded largely by the city.
Good also received another $146,000 in accrued sick leave, vacation time and other benefits when he left.
The City Commission closed the retirement plan, including the DROP program, to new employees in 2007 citing exorbitant costs. City records indicate that about 70 employees, active and inactive, are eligible to receive benefits under the plan that initially required employees contribute 5 percent of their salary, but was later increased to 7 percent.
PAYOUTS JACKED UP
Payouts to top city workers were further jacked up by management plan provisions that reduced the full retirement age from 60 to 52 with 25 years of service, inserted regular cost of living increases, and allowed workers to purchase additional years of service for time they didn’t actually work.
Some top employees also received two pensions because they were allowed to keep 10 percent to 17 percent of gross salary contributions by the city in the previous retirement plan.
Some details of the Professional Management Retirement Plan are unclear. BrowardBulldog.org asked the city clerk’s office to provide commission minutes and documents regarding the authorization of retroactive service credit for employees prior to October 2001, but was told those records are “not available.”