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Gary to offer early retirement to additional firefighters, police officers

Updated: April 18, 2013 2:29AM



GARY — Three more firefighters and an undetermined number of police officers will have the chance to retire, and two dispatchers will be replaced under two different ordinances to be considered by the Common Council.

City Controller Celita Green told the Finance Committee at its meeting last week she had identified excess money in the Police and Fire Public Employees Retirement Fund. Normally, the money is used to cover pension shortfalls until pension relief funds arrive, but a portion of that, according to the State Board of Accounts, can be used to offer early retirement to members of the police and fire departments.

Early retirements were originally thought to need approval of the Board of Works, Green said, but instead need to be approved by the council.

Of eight early retirement packages the department was able to offer, so far five firefighters have taken them, Green said. None have yet been offered to police officers.

In order to be eligible for the retirement package, firefighters must be at least 52 and have served at least 20 years on the department; police officers must be at least 52 with at least 25 years of service, she said. Both will receive a one-time payment of $37,500 plus all other documented time and one year of full insurance benefits for those retirees 65 and older. The candidate also cannot be eligible for the state retirement program.

The offer was good only for sworn members of the department, she said.

The closing of a fund in the Finance Department will allow the Police Department to replace two of three full-time dispatch positions it eliminated in 2012, according to the second ordinance. In it, Green closed out an account of $3,800 the Finance Department didn’t use and will move it to the Support Services Department to cover the shortfall in adding back the positions.

The two dispatchers will receive salaries of $27,239, Green said.

The Common Council will take up the two ordinances at its 6 p.m. Tuesday night meeting at City Hall.



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