The GPS is a settlement between the City, City agencies, employee and retiree organizations that approved fundamental changes to the pension plan. GPS applies only to participants who consented to the settlement and were members of ERS as of 1/1/2000.
The ERS and the Annuity and Pension Board have been charged with the responsibility of implementing the GPS. The GPS provides 18 different benefits (some of which are new and some of which are improvements to existing benefits). These benefits include one-time lump sum bonus payments; additional service credits (which will be factored into pension calculations); improved and expanded Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs); and new service/age requirements that improve eligibility for service retirement. The Benefit Payment Chart describes each GPS benefit.
No ERS participant will receive all 18 benefits. Some participants qualify for more of these benefits than do other participants. Eligibility for each benefit varies according to employee type, January 1, 2000 membership status, and other factors. In fact, about 40,000 different recipient and benefit combinations can be identified under GPS.
Under the GPS every consenting participant has a contractual and vested right to the pension benefits (including GPS benefits) in the amount and on the terms and conditions as provided in the law on January 19, 2001. In exchange, several pending lawsuits against the City of Milwaukee and the ERS have been dismissed and structural changes have been made in the ERS, which will save Milwaukee taxpayers between $10 million and $26 million per year.