Mayor Responds to Issue with Retirement Deposits

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On Tuesday evening, Mansfield Mayor Buddy Black issued a statement in response to the recent discovery of an error in the way the city was making retirement fund deposits. This matter of business was presented to the city council last Thursday evening, October 15, after Mayor Black was informed by the auditor that the funds going into the retirement plan could not come from either street or water, and that the monies must be paid back. -see related story

Mayor Black stated he made the discovery “during my review of the retired elected official’s retirement fund and in trying to find a solution to the problem of said fund being unsustainable in the future when all eligible elected officials are drawing a pension from it.” Black went on to add, “I started with how we had been making deposits into the retirement fund. We have been depositing $1000 into the retirement fund from each of four funds, general fund, street fund, water fund and waste management fund for a total of $4000 per month. Deposits began in June 2013 at a total deposit of $2000 and increased to $4000 January 2018. After reviewing this I discovered that we could not be using monies from the water and street funds to fund this retired elected officials retirement fund.

It was then, Black stated, that he immediately contacted the auditor, who further investigated the matter. “The auditor found a precedent had been set and ruled on by then Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant in 1996. The auditor advised us to pay the money back to street and water immediately. The amount was $60,500 each for a total of$121,000. The council voted to take $ 60,500 from retirement fund and $ 60,500 from waste management fund and return to street and water.”

Black stated that this was done on Friday October 16.  “The new amounts and a new budget will be presented to the city council at the November meeting,” explained Black. “Even though this is called an elected official’s retirement, it also includes our city attorney who is appointed not elected. This is all explained in Ordinance 2008-2 which was adopted  in December 2008.”

Black concluded by stating, “this was a bookkeeping error and since the money has now been paid back, no further action is needed. The city council will be meeting over the next few months to try to come up with some better ideas on how to fund to pension plan.”

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Mansfield native, with roots in Scott County. Daughter, sister, wife and Christian. Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; 20+ years experience in the news.

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