National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

The Voice for Public Pensions


Public Pension Profiles: Georgia Municipal Employee Benefit System (GMEBS), Randy Logan

Randy Logan discusses the changes he's seen in the public pension landscape over the last two decades and the issues he's watching in the coming years.

By Lizzy Lees, NCPERS

As part of an ongoing series of public pension executive profiles, NCPERS spoke with Randy Logan, Deputy Executive Director, Risk Management and Employee Benefits Services, for the Georgia Municipal Employee Benefit System (GMEBS).

Please note: This interview has been edited for clarity. If you would like to participate in a public pension profile interview, please contact

Tell me a little about the Georgia Municipal Employee Benefit System (GMEBS) and the members you serve.
Georgia Municipal Employee Benefit System, or GMEBS, was created by an act of the state legislature in 1967. The Georgia Municipal Association contracts with GMEBS to be the administrator of the plan. The members we serve are cities, municipal governments across the state, and boards, commissions, authorities that do business inside those cities.

As of today, we are the administrator for 291 individual retirement plans—with approximately 1,800 variations in plans—for these city governments. At those local governments, we have approximately 40,000 participants, including about 22,000 active employees and 14,000 retirees or beneficiaries of retirees. So we pay about $15 million per month in retirement benefits to beneficiaries and retirees across the state. Approximately 8,000 employees across the state also participate in GMEBS' Life and Health Insurance Program.

What changes have you seen in the public pension landscape in your nearly 24 years at the GMEBS?
Folks in my generation--baby boomers and older—understood pensions pretty well. But I've noticed over the years, as the private industry has moved away from pension plans, that a lot of employees don't really understand how defined benefit plans works. The other major change over the years has been with technology. The advances in technology have made our systems a bit easier to manage and to administer.

But as far as the basic system here in Georgia, with municipal governments, it's just really been cyclical without any significant changes. There's always been sort of an ebb and flow in the industry that seems to follow economic cycles. When times are very tight, we get calls from, from our members about ‘do we need to freeze our plan? Do we need to scale back on benefits?' Then in good times, when tax bases are providing good revenue for the cities, we'll often see cities improve their employee benefits. So it's been very cyclical over the last 24 years.

Since the ‘Great Resignation,' staff recruitment and retention has been a challenge across industries. How important do you think offering retirement and health benefits—such as a defined benefit program—are for retaining and attracting quality employees?
I think it's critical, and that is another area where we need to provide guidance and education. And right now, some of our members are sort of in that downward cycle that we talked about that. I get calls from city managers considering reducing benefits to find money in the budget for pay raises, which is very myopic. So I'm working to help them understand that, while that might help you in the short term, next year employees might look around and see the city right next door has a really good retirement plan, and they're going to leave for those better benefits.

Oftentimes, younger employees don't think about retirement. But once they get established in their career, then they start looking forward to retirement and health insurance and focusing more on those benefits. So I do think they are really critical for retaining and attracting employees.

What issues do you think public retirement system executives should watch in the coming year?
Well, the volatility in the market is of course a concern. Then I think just keeping pace with the movement in technology is another area to watch. What I'd like to do at GMEBS is to improve our technology so that a lot of the tasks that our administrative staff do manually now could be automated. Then they can pivot and focus more time and effort on member education and serving our members directly.

Another area is adapting to the current multigenerational workforce. Most of the older folks are retiring and moving out of the workforce, so we need to ensure we have better methods of reaching younger people. They consume information differently, and we need to adapt to those varying needs.  

Why did you choose to serve as a faculty advisor for the 2023 Chief Officers Summit? And can you tell me about your experience at the event as a past attendee?
I became a faculty advisor because I've always felt like, if I'm going to benefit from an organization or from a community, I need to do my part to help support it. And I think that, by being more involved, I'm able to learn more and create better connections with people that do the same kind of thing that I do that face some of the same challenges that I face.

The Chief Officers Summit was incredibly beneficial, as I could talk directly with and learn from other administrators. While I've worked at GMEBS for 24 years, I've only been in the role for about five years. So there was a lot I still didn't know, and being able to talk to and get ideas from other chief officers has been invaluable. I'm really looking forward to this year's event.


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