Auditor gives "poor" rating to Bridgeton retirement system -

Auditor gives "poor" rating to Bridgeton retirement system

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A scathing report released Tuesday criticizes city leaders in one St. Louis county town for letting their employees retirement system fall into shambles.

“You don't know what's around the corner,” said Sue Risinger.

After 28 years, Sue is looking forward to the day she can log off as court clerk in Bridgeton and retire.

But State Auditor Nicole Galloway says Sue’s retirement benefit from Bridgeton is at risk.

A report released by her office shows the plan is only funded at two-thirds of the required amount with unfunded liabilities of nearly $14 million in 2015.

About 250 people could be impacted.

“We found that the plan is in very poor condition,” said Auditor Nicole Galloway. Tuesday, Galloway released an audit saying Bridgeton’s retirement plan is severely underfunded, not just because of the down turn in the economy several years ago, but because of serious mismanagement.

Auditor Galloway says the committee in charge of overseeing the plan didn't even have a meeting in 2012, 2013 or 2014.

Now, she says, employees may lose benefits and taxpayers could impacted too.

“There is also the risk that future taxpayers will be on the hook because city leaders are passing the buck by not funding it now, future taxpayers will have to fund it in the future and solve this problem,” said Galloway.

So News 4 met with Mayor Terry Briggs who took over in 2015. He assures that changes are on the way. “In the future we are going to go forward in making those payments,” said Briggs.

He says they'll find the money, possibly through cuts in services. So Reporter Lauren Trager asked about a tax increase: “We may have to do something like that, but at this time, we don't for see that,” said Briggs.

Meanwhile, despite the report, sue she's still hopeful for her nest egg.

“I am not concerned,” she said.

The state auditor told News 4 her staff will be back here in the next three to six months. They are going to see if the plan is getting back on track.

You can see the full report, here.

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