League executives get extra money in retirement system

June 7, 2009 

League executives got extra years in retirement system

In 2002, the Kentucky League of Cities lent Executive Director Sylvia Lovely, Deputy Director Neil Hackworth, Director of Insurance Services William Hamilton and two other employees a combined $263,000 to purchase extra years and higher benefits in Kentucky's County Employee Retirement System.

The deal was both an incentive to stay at the League longer, and a kind of bonus, officials said.

It means, for example, that an employee who worked for the League for 10 years before retirement might purchase extra years as if they had worked longer.

The practice was considered a five-year perk. For each year they stayed with the League, 20 percent of the loan was forgiven. That amount was then reported to the IRS as income.

All of the loans were forgiven.

The deal was overseen by legal counsel, said Bill Thielan, one of the recipients when he worked at the League and now chief operations officer at the Kentucky Retirement System. "It's fairly prevalent in the private sector to use these programs as rewards and incentives," he said.

However, the private sector does not generally have access to benefits and time within public retirement systems.

Linda B. Blackford

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