Police propose pension change

City officials won't say who would get the money.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The city police union has proposed an amendment to the city's pension plan that would cost more than $125,000 and reduce the service time required to retire by 51/2 years for two officers.
An initial reading of the proposal passed at council's meeting Thursday. It must pass three readings to become law. It's not certain when the next reading will be.
Council members Rob Ratkovich, Christine Sands and Karen DeCarlo voted for the plan, while Will Quimby and Chet Orelli voted against it.
Supporters said the measure would serve as a one-time retirement incentive for two police department employees, but officials would not say who.
City business manager Tammi Gibson said the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 21, the city police department's union, requested the change.
Years of service
Current pension terms specify that police officers must have 25 years of service to be eligible for retirement.
The amendment would reduce service time to 191/2 years. If council approves the change, the two police officers would have until June 30 to accept the early retirement plan.
The city would pay $40,000 into the pension plan for the first two years. Annual payments of $15,000 would be made in third, fourth and fifth years. The city would also be responsible for paying the officers' unused sick and vacation days.
Earlier this year a consulting firm, Resource Development and Management Inc. of Pittsburgh, reviewed the city's finances and reported that the city had failed to pay the minimum municipal obligation to its pension funds.
"The financial condition of the pension fund and the RDM report do not support [this move]," said Mayor Wayne Alexander, who is also against the proposal.

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