I read with interest the articles about problems with municipal employee pensions being underfunded (in Pennsylvania and elsewhere). I was a municipal employee in Maryland in the 1960s and did not pay into Social Security.
Then I became a federal employee and learned about a more enlightened approach to employee pensions. New federal employees since the mid-1980s have had a three-tiered retirement program, and no other option. The generous federal employee pension died there -- except for current employees who were grandfathered.
The three tiers are: Social Security, with the employee and employer (United States) paying equally as in the private sector; a 401(k)-type plan with the government matching a percent of the employee savings; and a very small pension component.
Congress and the executive branch are often belittled, and sometimes serve us poorly, but they got it right this time. When did you last hear about any problem with underfunded federal civil service retirement pension funds? There may be a lesson here for states and municipalities.