Newton BOC selects ICMA-RC as 401(a) plan provider

COVINGTON — After a drawn-out discussion, the Newton County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to select ICMA-RC as the new provider for the county employees’ 401(a) retirement plan.

GEB Corp and ICMA-RC representatives shared with the commissioners in December how their services could help save retirement money for the employees, but the decision was tabled since Commissioners John Douglas and Levie Maddox were absent.

On Tuesday, County Manager John Middleton gave commissioners a side-by-side comparison of the companies’ plans, which showed the calculated annual plan administration fees.

Both company representatives were given an allotted time to re-pitch their reasons why their company should be chosen. GEB Corp is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, and ICMA-RC is a non-profit independent financial services corporation.

Both currently offer 457 plans to the county and the choice is left up to the county employees, Middleton said.

Commissioner Nancy Schulz made a motion to accept GEB Corp based on its fee structure. The measure failed by a 3-2 vote with only Maddox in agreement.

“This decision is very important for our employees and all enrolled, which includes us, which is why we want to make sure we make a good decision,” Schulz said.

Since Schulz’ motion failed, Douglas made a motion to accept the bid from ICMA-RC as the provider of the county’s 401(a) plan. Maddox noted that the board was about to approve a company with a fee structure that is 9 percent greater than the competing bid.

“If my math is right, ICMA is 9 percent higher than GEB Corp,” Maddox said.

After a short recess, Middleton agreed that Maddox’s number was correct. GEB Corp offered a $20 administration fee while ICMA offered a $0.29 basis fee.

“That number is going to vary and the actual number depends on a person’s contributions,” Middleton said.

Douglas upheld his motion to approve ICMA.

“I came with a completely open mind. I listened to presentations, the county manager’s comparison and read the material. I’m going to stick with the motion. While it may cost more to select ICMA, sometimes you get what you pay for,” Douglas said.

Commissioner Lanier Sims asked why the county was even considering a change in retirement plan providers.

Middleton said it was because the number of participants had decreased over the years.

“When both companies suggested they could save our employees money on the 401(a) plan, we wanted to bring that up to discussion for the board,” Middleton said.