Commissioners opted out of controversial retirement system

Published: Dec. 2, 2015 at 12:10 AM CST
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A lawsuit filed against the Caddo Parish Commission alleges commissioners have illegally enrolled in the Caddo Parish Employees Retirement System (CPERS).

The political analyst and civil activist who filed the suit is Elliot Stonecipher.

He calls out commissioners saying they should not only get out of the system, but they should pay money back to the taxpayers.
One man who knows the commission well says some of them have done just that.

"My understanding is that four of the commissioners resigned from the CPERS," said Gary Joiner, a history professor at LSUS, and someone who has worked with the Caddo Commission on geographical and historical projects for decades.

He was surprised to see the commission slapped with a lawsuit.

Stonecipher says in 2000, commissioners voted themselves into the program, making it available to all future commissioners.

"CPERS retirement to elected commissioners is illegal and unconstitutional, we want our money back," said Stonecipher.

While some of the commissioners are reportedly still enrolled, others have opted out, and claim to have done so before the lawsuit was filed in March.

So, Joiner wonders why those who withdrew are still named.

"Once they realize there may be problems with it and withdraw, I think they should be allowed to withdraw," said Joiner.

While he agrees that the lawsuit will shed light on an obvious problem he hopes it can be amended in the future, to exclude commissioners who no longer get the CPERS benefits.

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