There has been considerable discussion over the past year concerning the cost and funding of obligations to retired and future retired employees for other post-employment benefits (OPEB). The cost of health insurance for retired employees is a substantial future liability for the state and towns, given the rising cost of health care and the number of employees who will retire in the next 20 years as baby boomers reach normal retirement age.
In Wayland, citizens have questioned the aggressiveness of our funding efforts in relation to our liability, contrasting that effort to the actions of the vast majority of other Massachusetts communities. Wayland is among the top five communities in terms of funding this significant obligation, both in terms of the percentage of liability and in actual dollars set aside. Voters have questioned the process for funding the OPEB liability, which has occurred since FY2008 through a combination of planned appropriations within the health insurance line-item in the annual operating budget and allocations fo available unexpended funds within this line-item at fiscal year end in FY2010 and FY2011. At the October 2012 Special Town Meeting, citizens approved a bylaw that requires all future appropriations to OPEB to be made by a
separate article outside the omnibus budget (similar to large capital building projects) to assure that citizens understand and approve all future funding plans.
The Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen heard a presentation by Daniel Rhodes, a consulting actuary from The Segal Company on Monday, December 3, 2012. Mr. Rhodes made an informational presentation to help town officials and the public gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding OPEB. As part of the discussion, State Rep. Tom Conroy, a leading advocate for OPEB funding and understanding, offered his perspective and insights.
For additional information on OPEB, visit the link organizing all OPEB-related documents and information on the Town website, including the PowerPoint presentation of Mr. Rhodes, at
A link to the website for the special state commission studying OPEB and potential changes is here: