The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Editorial: Stop counting OT for pensions

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They’re not bad people, those police and firefighters in Schenectady (and many other municipalities) who pad their pensions in their final years by loading up on overtime. They’re just taking advantage of a bad system. There is a simple, and perfectly fair, remedy: Eliminate overtime from the pension calculation and calculate solely on base pay, as California and some other states have done. As a story by Gazette reporter Kathleen Moore on Sunday showed, some ...

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September 4, 2013
7:32 a.m.

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There are several errors in this article. First, no retired person is aking more than they did while working. Pension is calculated as a percentage of total annual earnings, and it is never more than 100%. Second, New York State does not limit total earnings when calculating pensions to no more than 15% (or 20%) of base salary. It calculates pension based on total earnings for the top 3 years, and no one year can be more than 15% higher (previously 20%) higher than the other 2 years. But if you've doubled your base income thru OT for 3 years, your pension would be based on that doubled income.

September 4, 2013
9:20 a.m.

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Very fair editorial. Public safety retirees want to accomplish two things through the "padding" - protect against inevitable inflation (It'd be interesting to read an article detailing pensions from 10 to 30 years ago) and produce income when they leave public service and are at a disadvantage when they attempt to re-enter the workplace (e.g., age many in their fifties).

Still, until the system was recently revised retirees could increase their pension until it was close to their regular salary. Given the fact retirees often live into their 80s, a retiree leaving public service at fifty could earn that salary for thirty years after they are no longer provided a public service. Unless the stock market trends upwards forever - that is not a sustainable business model. Do not know if it was possible but I wonder if they could legislate some form of exemption to the 457 (401k) plan offered to firefighters/officers? For three years allowing them the ability to place more in their retirement investments or giving them a signing bonus at the beginning of their career. If an officer/firefighter was given $30k to sign and not allowed to add any OT in their pension, and the money was invested responsibly - I would think the retiree would have more available income in retirement and the taxpayers a lighter load to carry.

This is an instance where real experts should be allowed to design some of the worker benefits and move away from these matters being decided by unions and politicians. Both sides may make out better in the long run.

September 4, 2013
10:20 a.m.

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The open "padding" tells the taxpayers "go to h***"___Do you really think the "sewer" and the unions would subject themselves to what the "other" taxpayers must endure?___There's are guaranteed!!!___The "other" taxpayers have no advocate other than the ballot, which they seem relucatant to use since the same "jerks" are re-elected year after year (even when one steals $100k!!)

September 5, 2013
5:40 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]