HARRISBURG — The Wolf administration is moving to close the Public Employee Retirement Commission, which reviews municipal pension plans and legislation that would affect public worker pensions.
When Gov. Tom Wolf signed a partial state budget into law in December, he used a line-item veto to eliminate funding for the commission.
“We are moving forward with the process of shutting down PERC,” Jeffrey Sheridan, spokesman for Mr. Wolf, said in an email Monday.
In a phone interview, Mr. Sheridan said the administration believes the State Employees’ Retirement System and Public School Employees’ Retirement System already provide thorough and independent analysis of pension legislation.
“The actuarial analysis provided by PERC is redundant and unnecessary and an expense the commonwealth does not need,” he said.
The commission has four employees and one temporary employee, said executive director James McAneny.
Mr. Sheridan said the Office of Administration is working to help employees who want to continue working for the state find other jobs.
Mr. McAneny said he had not been advised of a plan to close the commission, but noting the line-item veto, he said such a move did not come as a surprise. He said he would be concerned about the work the commission does in reviewing the thousands of municipal pension plans in the state.
Mr. Sheridan said the administration believes those functions can be performed by the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System.
Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said: “Obviously, there’s very serious concerns there, especially given their role in municipal pension plans and the payments that need to be made.”
Mr. McAneny and House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said that legislation would be needed to close the commission.
“Unlike an emperor, he cannot just move things around at his whim,” Mr. Miskin said.
Mr. Sheridan said that the administration does not need to secure the passage of legislation to stop the commission’s operations, and that it does not intend to pursue legislation. He said the elimination of the commission will not prevent future pension legislation from moving forward.
Karen Langley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-2141 or on Twitter @karen_langley