Newton County BOC tables retirement plan decision

COVINGTON — The Newton County Board of Commissioners decided to table a decision to select a new provider for the employees’ 401(a) retirement plan.

GEB Corp and ICMA-RC representatives shared with the commissioners during Tuesday’s work session how their services could help save retirement money for county employees.

Since Commissioners John Douglas and Levie Maddox were absent for the presentations, the decision to choose a company was delayed until the first meeting in January.

Chairman Keith Ellis said the BOC began to look at the employees’ retirement plans and how many employees participated in March.

“We realized about half of our nearly 600 employees do not contribute any money toward their retirement plan,” Ellis said. “They are confused, like many other citizens are, with the many different retirement plan options. So we started studying companies and decided to give two an opportunity to share with us and the public on how they could simplify our current retirement plans.”

Under the current plan, the county contributes 4 percent of each full-time employee’s base salary. The county also matches 50 percent of employee deferrals up to a maximum of 4 percent.

“If employees contribute 4 percent, we give them another 2 percent so overall they could receive 10 percent of their salary in a retirement plan,” Ellis said.

Ellis noted the county’s current employee retirement plan is through Nationwide, which provides commissioned agents to the county.

The representatives from GEB Corp, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, and ICMA-RC, a non-profit independent financial services corporation, both committed to educating the employees on the plans during re-enrollment.

County Manager John Middleton is in the process of preparing a side-by-side comparison of each company’s benefits to give to the commissioners before the Tuesday, Jan. 7 meeting.

“We want to share with the public, commissioners and the employees what the best option will be,” Ellis said. “It’s an opportunity to educate our employees to try to increase their matching so they can build a better retirement.”