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Voice: IID's actions with retirement fund not fair to many employees

May 28, 2001

I have just returned from the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors meeting, where the rollover of the employees' retirement fund was the main topic for the evening.

I do not understand the board's unwillingness to treat this matter as a rollover instead of a massive retirement by all employees. As I understand it, the district was supposed to be contributing to a general fund a certain percentage of each employee's wages every payday to provide for the future retirement of each employee. Now that, for whatever reasons, this fund is no longer able to provide for our retirement, it is being "rolled over" into a 401(a) account.

This means the employees will now be able to gamble their retirement funds on the stock market. My problem is with the "formula" used to distribute these funds. The biggest factor in how much an employee will receive is that employee's age. How fair is this to an employee who at a young age decided to make the district a career and has been contributing more than 20 years, only to see employees with less than five years being given more money?

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I cannot for a second see this as fair, nor do I believe that those in charge of this distribution believe it fair, but are they trying one last time to get their hands into this fund that they have already ravaged at the expense of young career employees? I believe these funds should be sorted out and returned to the employees who they were to be contributed for.

Again this is not a massive retirement, but a buy-out that should treated accordingly. To be fair to all employees, the only "formula" used to decide each employee's dollar value of this account should be how much has this employee contributed. Any gains or losses to this account should be felt by those who have contributed to and provided this fund in the first place.

There will be no future reimbursement to these employees. If the district decides to go ahead and reward age not years of service, I can only guess at what will happen to the morale of these employees whose contributions have been overlooked. Legal or not, I believe there needs to be some moral consideration involved.

DAVID DELOACH

Holtville

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