Minnesota police and fire forces bracing for early retirements

  • Article by: Nicole Norfleet , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 8, 2013 - 9:02 PM

Change in pension rules could cause an exodus of experienced law enforcement officers.

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gopher68Dec. 8, 13 9:28 PM

The real challenge will be paying all of these 55-year-olds pension payments for the rest of their lives. Not saying they didn't earn it -- they sure did -- but even a $30K-a-year pension benefit will result in almost $1 million in payouts for the retiree and their spouse. It's going to be tough.

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jarlmnDec. 8, 13 9:38 PM

wow, Chief Harteau thinks her critical hiring strategy is "from a budgetary and diversity recruitment standpoint." Gee, I would have thought the critical strategy would be to hire honest, competent and professional-acting officers. And sheesh, a lot of these "retired" officers will get hireed-on the Metro Transit forces or like that, and soon be double-dipping. Look for the Union label....

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honeybooDec. 8, 1310:32 PM

Taxpayers need to brace for under-funded and mismanaged municipal employee pension funds, fueled by irresponsible politicians that over-promised benefits in exchange for votes. The only good news here is that the Detroit bankruptcy judge just ruled that municipal retiree benefits can be cut back when $ run out.

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ciamanDec. 8, 1310:44 PM

Just where were the people whom are supposed to look down the road to see masses retiring all at once? Who made those zany decisions to almost force out the best officers with the most experience?? And Paul Monteen says he sees no problem. They will hire with no trouble? Really? You cannot buy experiene, sir, or did you forget that one? I would love to sit down and talk with that talking head...and the Federal Government went through the same thing starting in 2003 and on. All of the best workers retired while they were under Civil Service rules that gave the best pensions and the great retirements benefits. Once they left, you should see the loss of quality people whom replcaced them. Just awful. I saw it and I saw all of it. So will you, sir.

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carlbsDec. 8, 1311:33 PM

Good luck. The purge of union working men and woman will continue. Retire. Hope you got a pension. Woops. The city decided that your pension is null and void because a rich guy decided it didn't fit in with his plans. Careful who you vote for.

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carlbsDec. 8, 1311:54 PM

Dude, think about it. You accept a job, often a dangerous one, that has defined benefits. You take a lesser salary for promises of a pension. It's part of your "package". You put in your time, and do your job with honors, and then the GOP decides to lawyer up and embrace a governor who has pledged to destroy your promised pension? Ok, then give me a lump sum for the years I've worked that the "said" pension was part of the bargain! I worked for years for this at a reduced salary. And I don't care what you've paid your executives for doing basically nothing. Actually we should care. Make it right or go home. Fight for your deal or fade away.

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leweygDec. 9, 13 1:45 AM

In the big cities, its typically 9 months from hired date, recruit school, field training and then getting out on their own...It December, that means the ealiest these young pofessionals will be out on their own is Mid September...I sure hope it's a quiet summer for everyone in 2014! And I cant wait to see the overtime bill to cover the shortages...horrible planning and zero foresite.

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comment229Dec. 9, 13 4:41 AM

Blame some politician types for the pension language? Really? Who were the people that approved those pensions back when they were being negotiated? And to say each person is going to get $30,000 per year? Really? There are several ways to set up the payment on these pensions..... more up front, or long term for less, with protections set for spousal support. Pretty narrow minded comments today. And finally, some of you think that the people getting this money did not contribute anything... let's not call this stupidity, let's call it ignorance. And as long as we are at it, if the money isn't there, then maybe it is time to "follow the money" and put some people in jail....

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blendedvegDec. 9, 13 6:49 AM

Before we start bashing pensions, here are a few facts about police pensions in Minnesota that might get in the way of heated comments: 1. There are no remaining municipal pensions in Minnesota. All are run by the state pension system. 2. Police officers contribute a mandatory, fixed amount (about 15 percent) of their salary to their pensions, employing agencies also contribute a percentage to the pension. (For those complaining about public pensions, imagine if you and your employer had each contributed 15% of your salary to a retirement plan...maybe you'd have a nice retirement fund too.) 4. The pension is based on years of service. An officer gets a pension based on his/her years of service and average salary during that time. 3. The reason that there *MAY* be a rush of retirements is two-fold: a.) demographics: a lot of officers were hired starting 25-30 years ago. b.) a rule changes to keep the pension funds as strong as they currently are will require officers to face a substantial penalty for retiring at age 50 rather than 55--though the amount of penalty will be phased in to minimize the chances of a rush on retirements. 4. Minnesota pension funds are among the best managed in the country--solvency has never been an issue and likely will not as a result of these changes.

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liora51Dec. 9, 13 7:07 AM

This has a lot to do with the the demographics and economic forces both far beyond the control of the hiring agencies cited here. And peace officers are just a small piece of the picture. It is nurses, computer programmers of the huge legacy systems in government, maintenance engineers, scientists and all manner of the roles that hold society together that are taken for granted, unseen and not valued. It has been predicted since the early 60's. Get some perspective before the knee jerk reaction to blame individuals who are doing their best with situations that were ALWAYS beyond their control.

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