Measure aims to allow cops to retire earlier | MassCops

Measure aims to allow cops to retire earlier

Discussion in 'Retirement & Investments' started by Gil, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. Gil

    Gil Founder of MassCops Staff Member

    Measure aims to allow cops to retire earlier
    By Claude Marx and Stephanie Chelf
    Staff writers

    The police union wants lawmakers to let them retire earlier and reduce some of the stress in their lives.

    City and town leaders say they are thankful for these sacrifices, but fear the added benefits from early retirement will strain their already overburdened budgets.

    The debate will come to a head next year when lawmakers consider a measure sponsored in the House by Rep. Michael Costello, D-Newburyport that would allow local police officers to retire after 25 years of service with 75 percent of their salaries. They can currently retire with 80 percent of their salaries after 33 years.

    Police unions say their members are not primarily concerned about the money.

    "This will give them a chance to have a less stressful life after they finish being a policeman. This is a job that wears on you physically and emotionally," said Larry Crosman, a trustee for the Massachusetts lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.

    Massachusetts State Police officers already have the benefit while state and county corrections officers are eligible to retire at 50 percent of their pay after 20 years.

    In New Hampshire, police officers can retire at 50 percent of their salary if they are at least 45 years old.

    David Baier, legislative director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, said the bill would "create an expensive benefit without regard to the costs." He added that communities would be forced to pay the salaries and health insurance expenses for new police personnel while still funding health insurance for young retirees not yet old enough to receive Medicare.

    Police officers in the Bay State earn an average annual salary of $50,000, not including overtime and detail work, according to the Massachusetts Police Association. Pensions are based on the highest three years of salaries.

    Newburyport Auditor Bill Squillace said the impact of the bill would result in higher costs, but it would vary depending on the individual retiring.

    "It would be more of an expense," Squillace said. "It can be significant."

    The city will pay $2.46 million this year into its retirement fund, Squillace said. That costs is expected to rise next year to $2.7 million.

    Newburyport Police Lieutenant Richard Siemasko said local police have been waiting for pensions to be in line with those of the state police.

    "We pray for that every year," Siemasko said. "It's better to retire a little earlier. That would be great (if the bill) went through."

    Three city officers — Marshal Thomas Howard, Lt. Robert Gagnon, and Officer Donald Hall — have 25 years of service, Siemasko said.

    The Massachusetts Police Association, which lobbies the Legislature on police issues and supports the bill, estimates that between 10 percent and 15 percent of the state's approximately 19,000 municipal police officers have 25 or more years of service.

    Association spokesman James Machado predicted that few officers would retire during their first year of eligibility. He noted that only about 2 percent of corrections officers retire after 20 years of service.

    Costello is sponsoring the measure in the House and Rep. Joyce Spiliotis, D-Peabody, is a co-sponsor. Neither returned telephone calls seeking comment on the issue.

    Sen. Joan Menard, D-Somerset, is the bill's main sponsor in that chamber and Sen. Thomas McGee, D-Lynn, has introduced a measure that would require the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission to conduct a study of the costs of changing the retirement rules.

    Shawn Feddeman, spokeswoman for Gov. Mitt Romney, said the administration has taken no position on the bills, but would review them if they are passed by the Legislature.

    Menard's spokesman, Kevin Conlon, said that by allowing older officers to retire early "it makes for younger police forces," and communities would save money because older officers tend to retire on disability more often.

    Baier said his organization supports McGee's measure because "I'm in favor of more information for everybody." He opposes a rule change that would solely benefit police department employees without a comprehensive overhaul of the retirement system.

    Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, agreed that the retirement system needs to be changed so it becomes less expensive and is more in keeping with other states.

    "I can understand why the police would want to get it, especially if you look at what other public employees get and what those at the upper level of the University of Massachusetts get. But to the average taxpayer, all these pensions seem very high. They can't even fantasize about the pensions you get in the public sector. People in many private industry jobs can't retire until they are 66 under new Social Security rules," she said.
  2. soxrock75

    soxrock75 BOOM!

    99.999% of PO's aren't sitting behind desks, staring at a computer or yakking on the phone all day. They are out there hunting down and locking up the scumbags. Chases, struggles, shootings and dealing with the absolute worst that society has to offer aren't exactly a danger for the white collar pencil pusher.
  3. frapmpd24

    frapmpd24 Senior Member

    Ok, so this will add an expensive benefit without regard to cost??? Seems to me like there could be savings in this.... oh, they only put enough info in the article to make things sound negative .there is a shock :shock: .

    1) Currently 33yrs = 80% Pension. Proposed is 25Yrs = 75%. To me that seems like a 5% savings if an officer wants to retire 7 years earlier.

    2) A senior officer with 25+ years is going to be paid at the maximum rate in the pay scale, possibly with quinn bill, longevity bonuses, 5-6 weeks vacation, sizable amounts of accrued sick or LOP/Comp time, and health care benefits. During the seven year difference between 25yrs on and 33yrs on the job there could be 2+ contracts where the pay rates increase.

    A new officer hired to replace the retired officer on the job 25yrs will be paid a barely livable wage through the academy and then not reach the top of the pay scale for a few years at the minimum. Not as much time off or other monetary bonuses. A lower overtime rate.

    3) Its may be a new concept for some of these liberal groups, but as people get older they are prone to injuries more. Plus, the stress of the job has an effect, especially on the cardio system and risks for heart related problems, among other things. The health care costs increase as well as OT for officers out IOD/Disability in comparison to a younger offices. Not trying to knock the veteran officers out there, you do a good job, just making a point :)

    Here we go again with the Massachusetts Municipal Association and their wonderful analyzation of things. Whether it is details, the quinn bill, or 25/75, people have to make an issue if it is anything positive for the police, but want want want when they have a problem or issue of some sort. It makes sense for officers to have that option; It is good for their overall health and well being and gives more people an opportunity in this wonderful profession.
  4. SOT

    SOT Thread Killa

    You know this is prolly the best counter to those any of those arguments about why they shouldn't be allowed to retire earlier.

    I had a girlfriend back in the day whose whole job was to run a "wellness" facility for a company. The spent MILLIONS of dollars a year, to encourage employees (all desk sitting employees) to get to the in house gym, eat healthier, use the stairs instead of the elevator, they even gave people two extra "mental health" days for vacation....bla bla bla bla bla....

    So instead of an early retirement, maybe they should just call it a "wellness enhancement package" and then all the idiots that bitch would get past it.

    Some of those older cops are tough as a coffin nail and what is really sad is the migration of experience...but hey you can't fault anyone for getting out while their knees still work, while their back is still somewhat intact...the flip side being these people seem to want to keep cops on the job as long as possible, chew them up, spit them out and screw their quality of life after retirement.

  5. Gil

    Gil Founder of MassCops Staff Member

    Taxpayers can't afford earlier retirement for police

    Editorial: Taxpayers can't afford earlier retirement for police

    Police officers in Massachusetts seeking legislative approval to retire earlier may say their request is not about money. But it is — and a lot of money at that.

    Right now, police officers can retire after 33 years on the job and collect 80 percent of their salaries. This month, organizations representing police will petition the Legislature to reduce that requirement and allow them to retire at 75 percent salary after just 25 years.

    "This will give them a chance to have a less stressful life after they finish being a policeman. This is a job that wears on you physically and emotionally," Larry Crosman, a trustee for the Massachusetts lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, told our reporter.

    We don't doubt that being a police officer is stressful. But it is no more or no less stressful than any number of other careers people choose to pursue. And a career in law enforcement is just that — a choice.

    Let's look at what police are requesting. Most people, even those who extend their educations through college, have working careers of more than 40 years — from the ages of 22 to 65. At the same time, life expectancy is approaching 80 years. Under this proposal, a police officer who begins a career at 25 can retire at 50 and spend more years collecting a pension than he or she did on the job. Taxpayers could be on the hook for 75 percent of this person's salary every year for more than 30 years.

    A 25-year-old employee in the private sector today will have to work another 42 years to reach Social Security's full retirement age of 67.

    Here is a prime example of why government is so expensive. It's not the day-to-day expenses that push budgets through the roof. It's the cost of an ever-growing list of entitlements and benefits demanded by and foolishly granted to public-sector employees.

    Statewide, there are 19,000 police officers each earning an average salary — not counting overtime and detail work — of $50,000. Between 10 percent and 15 percent of those officers already have 25 years of service. In the unlikely event that all of them retired on passage of this measure, the cost to the state would be $71 million to $107 million a year in added pensions alone. Even a more realistic assessment of the number of police who would retire means millions in added pension costs, plus the expense of training and paying replacement officers — who themselves could be retired in a mere 25 years.

    Police officers, like other workers, deserve a decent pension after their working lives are over. But neither they nor other public employees deserve a ride on the gravy train while they are still young and have many productive years ahead of them.

    It just isn't fair to the taxpayers who have to continue working well into their golden years to support them.

    The bill before the Legislature is being co-sponsored by state Rep. Michael Costello, D-Newburyport, who has been uncharacteristically silent on the issue. In the Senate, it is being sponsored by Sen. Joan Menard, D-Somerset, whom Costello once worked for. At the least, Costello should lay out his arguments for cosponsoring the bill, and explain how the fiscal impacts will be handled by a state that has cut back on school and local aid, and faces a possible $900 million deficit.
  6. Jasper

    Jasper New Member

    the 25/75 year bill has been talked about for at least 12 years... Governor Romney might sign it but the majority of the leglislature are democrats - many are criminal defense attorneys on the side. the democrats are extremely liberal in this state as noted by our being the last in lowering the bac levels to 0.8 in oui cases and the last in authorization of police to have tasers.... the democrats are NOT big supporters of the police , they are anti police- their history proves that. if you want a 25/75 bill - then vote Republican. facts are facts. also beware of Attorney General tom reilly = that liberal is a publicity hound that will be running for governor - he is NOT a true friend of police -he loves to make much ado about nonsense things like alleged police profiling - typical democrat that attempts to portray police as being bad.

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