Thursday, February 18, 2010

Deseret News: Senator Liljenquist Cuts Public Safety Employees a Little Slack

Sen. Liljenquist's SB 63 will be amended to allow public safety employees to continue retiring at full benefits before other government workers

Here's an interesting Deseret News tidbit, following on the heels of our 2/15/10 discussion, regarding State Sen. Dan Liljenquist's SB 63, once again reminding us that its a good idea to lobby your legislators when their proposed legislation isn't quite up to snuff:
Utah Legislature: Public safety may catch a break on retirement
Here's the lede from this morning's Deseret News story:
SALT LAKE CITY — A bill creating a new, less costly state pension system will be amended to allow public safety employees to continue retiring at full benefits before other government workers.
SB63 had called for all employees covered under the state retirement system to work 35 years to earn a full pension, even though police officers, firefighters and other public safety employees traditionally have been able to leave earlier.
Now, the bill will be amended to give public safety employees a full pension after 25 years. Other public employees, including schoolteachers and state workers, still would have to work 35 years under the bill.
Liljenquist said there's a policy argument to be made for a shorter retirement window for public safety employees. "Some of these professions are more of a young person's career," he said. [...]
We'll volunteer that we're in agreement with Sen. Liljenquist rationale respecting this proposed bill amendment, as we've been having trouble wrapping our brain around the concept of forcing geriatric cops and firefighters to stick it out for a full 35 years on the job, in order to draw their retirement.

Having said that, we'll also put the focus on another interesting quote contained within today's DNews story:
The head of the Utah Public Employees Association, Audry Wood, agreed. "I think we all understand, especially with firefighters, it's such a physical, high-demand job, and the burnout rate is high," Wood said.But Wood said she still opposes the dramatic overhaul being proposed and wants the state to take more time in redesigning the pension system.The change Liljenquist is making, she said, "just goes to show that moving so quickly reveals the flaws. Getting the extra year we're asking for, we can flesh out a lot of the issues."
So what about it, Gentle Readers? Is Sen. Liljenquist's late recognition that public safety jobs are essentially "...more of a young person's career," a step in the right direction for proposed legislation that was otherwise sound? Or is Sen. Liljenquist's bill simply "moving too fast," and in need of "further study," as Utah Public Employees Association spokesperson, Audry Wood suggests?

Our discussion of Sen. Liljenquist's proposed overhaul of the Utah public employee retirement system provoked a pretty good discussion
the last time around; so in the interest of stimulating a little more discussion on this topic, we'll ask out readers this:

What do you all think about this latest news development?


retiree said...

Notice that Utah's pension is rated as a solid performer. Utah a solid performer

Fireman Joe said...

The earlier retirement for fire is also based on our 56 hour work week.

Public safety-56x52x35=101,920 hours
40 hour a week-40x52x35=72,800 hours

Public safety-56x52x25=72,800 hours

Danny said...


If you read the source material, you'll see that "solid performer" were the media's words, not the report authors.

Moreover, Utah's relative strong position only means the gummint pension system in Utah is not deep in the red, like other states that are technically bankrupt.

Another issue is the generosity of gummint pensions vs what those in the private sector get. It that sense, the issue is still one that may need to be addressed.

Fat gummint pig said...

Danny-when the people educating your children, responding at 3 A.M. when they stop breathing and keeping them safe on the streets make minimum wage with no benefits and no retirement will you complain about how badly you are being served or be happy?

throw the Chief out said...

“A police officer is the keeper of the gate”!!!

He could have killed these bills dead. But he didn't even show up to work that day. (Not to mention the 3 paychecks he received that day).

And he didn’t even have the guts to use the pen. Does anybody really believe Greiner will have the guts to use a gun if that dreaded day came?

Did General George Washington not fight for a better life of his men? You bet he did and Congress wouldn’t go for a Pension System until years later.

At least General George Washington fought the fight... Unlike Senator and Police Chief Greiner!

Greiner has lost all credibility with any Public Safety Officer!! His new nick name is (Benedict Greiner),

President Jefferson said...

I knew General Washington. And Senator-Chief Benedict Greiner is no George Washington!

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