Sunday, August 12, 2007

Giving credit where credit is due, Council Bill 2007-255


PURPOSE: The Annual Salary Ordinance contained a provision which stated that anyone receiving benefits from the Police Fire Pension Fund who obtained other employment with the City of Springfield would forfeit their right to draw benefits from the Police Fire Pension Fund. The purpose of the rule was to discourage "double-dipping" by former police and fire employees who would retire and then secure employment in other areas of the City.

The effect of the rule, however, has been to create hardships on certain departments in hiring experienced employees for other City departments. For example, while a police officer may have retired from active duty with the police force, that officer cannot be hired by the municipal court to act as a bailiff, nor can the officer be hired as an airport police officer or work for emergency 911 communications. Staff has determined that allowing experienced retired police or fire fighters from being able to secure other employment merely results in losing valuable personnel who can offer their experience and training to other departments. The Police Fire Pension Board agrees that a change in this rule is in order.

Since the above rule was shared in an annual salary ordinance, the numbering of this ordinance reflects the prior codification system under a different publisher. Therefore, in order to properly amend this bill, council is amending an annual salary ordinance, but the effect will be to delete a provision that remained in effect under an annual salary ordinance. This ordinance will not appear on any on-line codes as all salary ordinances are annual ordinances and are not codified by the publisher. The deletion of this provision will allow retired police and fire employees to obtain other positions within the city. These employees could be employed full time, receive their police and fire benefits and would also be earning service credit toward Lagers retirement benefits. The net effect will be positive, however, in that the City will be able to employee (their typo not mine) experienced safety personnel who are familiar with city rules and regulations as well as various city policies and practices.

I don't think it was really necessary to explain why this is a good thing for the City of Springfield. I wonder where the mentality came from which begrudged retired police and fire fighters acquiring jobs in other city departments to continue their service to their community in the first place?

If they earn service credit toward Lagers retirement benefits in addition to their police and fire pension benefits then they earned it. Geesh. At least it is being corrected now.

Cindy Rushefsky's name is listed as the sponsor of this bill. I suspect (but have not confirmed) she had some involvement in this coming to council. It's got her common sense fingerprint all over it. :)

UPDATE: I questioned where the mentality came from which begrudged retired police and firefighters aquiring jobs in other city departments? Apparently, the mentality wasn't unfamiliar to Mayor Carlson.

UPDATE 2: I have no reason to believe that Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky had any hand in bringing this bill before Council beyond her name being attached to it by City administration.

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