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City should reconsider retirement packages

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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 10:00 pm

I read in paper (Aug. 29) about two of our fire captains, ages 52 and 56, who are retiring because the city is offering them an early out to save money. How?

Since this would be public record, maybe you could find out what that offer was and what their annual retirement salary will be.

I see so many times that firemen and police (public safety) are retiring in their early 50s. Isn't this losing some very well trained and qualified employees with many good working years left? Whatever happened to the 60 to 65 retirement years?

I don't blame any of our hard working public safety personnel for the retire benefits they are offered. I do blame the city council and any others that hand out these very generous packages. If my understanding is correct, they can retire after 30 years of service at 90% of their salary plus health benefits, if I'm wrong I know someone will correct me.

I think we had better take a hard look at changing some of these benefit for new employees before we go broke like Vallejo and many other cities. I'm sure I will hear from many that don't like the content of this letter, but it needs to be addressed. Wake up, Lodi!

Dennis Regan


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 3:20 pm on Wed, Sep 16, 2009.


    I do not begrudge police/fire people' retirement etc. But, like all of us, cant they be kept on at desk jobs with their years of skills ?? Under the current plan most will be retired more years than they worked. I dont expect them to run up a ladder or chase a suspect over fences, but they have years of experience. Keep them in the system, even in house work, until they are at least 60.

  • posted at 11:51 am on Wed, Sep 16, 2009.


    From my understanding that only applies during the time of employment. Here is how I understand it works: Contributions are based upon a changing percentage of the employees set salary. The contribution percentage rates,I believe, are based upon an average of the growth or loss of the investment. During some years the city does not pay anything or pays very little. Other years they pay more. When the investments grow faster, the city pays less. These rates are set for several years to allow cities to do their budget projections. Again as far as I know, upon retirement, the city does not ever pay any type of retirement for that employee again.

  • posted at 10:18 am on Wed, Sep 16, 2009.


    El Toro: it is my understanding that the retirement payments are mandated by the state. If their "account" declines, us taxpayers have to pick up the difference. I have never heard of a PERS retirement decreasing. But I could be wrong.

  • posted at 9:57 am on Wed, Sep 16, 2009.


    Ok you named 3 people who retired over the last 10 years...dozens have retired in the past 10 years I would estimate. My intent was not say every single cop and firefighter is in a wheelchair or dies within a few years of retirement. Also those who spend more time in management are exposed to less hazards...common sense. There is not a different retirement account for management and line level. Also,If I understand PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) correctly, once the person retires, the city (and us the tax payer) no longer pays a single penny. The payments come from a managed retirement account, much like a 401k. So it saves every single penny in salary and benefits, plus we don't pay their retirement.

  • posted at 9:29 am on Wed, Sep 16, 2009.


    El Toro: It does not look like Retired Chief Hansen has too many injuries and how long has he been retired? Also, Retired Chief Adams is doing well. So well that since his retirement, he got a new job with Home Land Security. It won't be long and our current Chief Main will hang up his badge and do something different. So we will be paying for three retired police chiefs at the same time. We can't afford it.

  • posted at 7:03 am on Wed, Sep 16, 2009.


    I don't know what their retirement percentage is at what age...it can be looked up in their MOU. The reason is several, public safety employees often suffer injuries thru their career. These injuries often affect them throughout their life and get worst with age. Most have a lower life expectations then the avg. person. So an "earlier retirement" lowers the risk of an older person getting further injured. This reduces the city’s risk of worker comp. etc. The early buy out of these people purchases the required retirement, not their total salary and benefits. On the face it sounds like it cost the taxpayer more. However in bad budget times like this it prevents layoffs of the young, less senior public safety employees because it actually saves the city money. By only “buying” the retirement amount for "X" amount of years as opposed to full salary and benefits, savings to the city of 90% I would estimate of the highest paid senior officials. Benefit to the taxpayer (Savings) benefit to citizens of Lodi by saving line level employees who respond to our needs.


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