On Oct. 14, Batesville City Council members agreed to pay $20,114 to include Mayor Rick Fledderman in the Indiana Public Retirement System’s Public Employees’ Retirement Fund retroactive to 2004. The vote was 3-1, with Gene Lambert, Beth Meyers and Bob “Tuba” Narwold approving and Kevin Chaffee opposing. Darrick Cox was absent.
On Feb. 10, the topic was on the agenda again.
Clerk-treasurer Ron Weigel said, “We questioned PERF (officials) when the original letter was sent out because we thought the amount seemed a little bit low, but we were told it was correct .... After the decision to move forward, we received an invoice from PERF ... but we thought there was an error in the amount.” It was $30,000 more than the original amount.
”After checking, we learned there was a typographical error on the original letter (dated Sept. 26, 2013). The correct amount was $50,114 .... PERF (representatives) did say it was their fault.”
Weigel stressed, “The employer portion is what we’re talking about, and it goes into the general fund .... The other portion is the annuity part” to which the mayor can contribute up to 10 percent of his salary going forward. Fledderman cannot retroactively add money to the annuity part.
Former utilities manager Mike Vonderheide said he recalled, “When Rick first took office, PERF was not to be considered for the mayor’s position.”
Lambert pointed out, “I led the salary review during the first term .... (and) there was no such discussion about denying the mayor PERF benefits .... I believe the mayor’s position deserves it, and I believe all city employees deserve that benefit. I will stay with my position.”
Narwold noted, “I think a mayor of a town this size should be in it. I’m not going to change my mind.”
Chaffee pointed out, “I’m still opposed to the retroactive payment of retirement benefits.”