Stakeholders Seek Common Ground Over Retiree Costs

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Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- Gov. Joe Manchin wants a plan for resolving the conflict over West Virginia's public retiree costs before another meeting of the various affected parties.

A Monday morning session of stakeholders yielded no proposed solutions.

The mix includes officials from county school boards that plan to sue the state.

They object to the state's current policy for closing a gap between on-hand assets and the non-pension benefits promised to West Virginia public employees upon retirement.

Analysts hired by the state believe the unfunded liability dropped in recent years from $7.8 billion to $3.1 billion, but has since risen to $6.4 billion.

But not everyone agrees on that figure, or on future projections.

Lawmakers hope for a proposal in time for their 2010 session.

(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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