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Old 09-20-2017, 01:44 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 85,616
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(a little old, but just came across tabs I've had opened and hadn't closed yet)

Pension executive defends six-figure retirement payouts for police, firefighters

Jared Smout, administrator of the financially troubled Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, on Thursday defended a pension benefit that has provided six-figure, lump-sum payouts to manyretired police officers and firefighters.

Smout told a special legislative panel there was a perception problem with the Deferred Retirement Option Plan — or DROP — and that it was a "myth" that the program has cost the pension trust a "huge" amount of money.

PSPRS records compiled by The Arizona Republic show DROP has paid out at least $1.2 billion to retirees since fiscal 2002, and it recently provided a record $944,287 payout to Kevin Robinson, a former Phoenix assistant police chief who retired July 1.

PSPRS records obtained under the state's Public Records Law show that at least 316 PSPRS retirees have received DROP payments in excess of $500,000. Of those, 38 are retirees from the Phoenix police and fire departments, and each received a DROP payment in excess of $700,000.

The average DROP payment for retired police officers is $249,932, while the average DROP payment for retired firefighters is $330,282.

Smout gave a presentation called "Debunking the Myths" to a state House Ad Hoc Study Committee on PSPRS at the Capitol. Legislators did not ask questions, and they plan to have another Capitol meeting after Labor Day, with similar hearings scheduled for Yuma, Tucson and Miami-Globe.

The group, which has met three times, in January plans to formally recommend to the Legislature how to fix the PSPRS. While lawmakers in the past have tried to improve the pension system, it still is in a financial hole because of court decisions rolling back reforms, poor investment performance in the past and lucrative benefits.

That has necessitated a hike in contributions from state and municipal employers, making it difficult for some communities to meet their pension obligations.

Campbell also characterized DROP's guaranteed rate of return as too generous, noting it would be nearly impossible to find in the private sector. He said DROP prevents local governments from hiring new, less costly employees to replace "retired" officers in DROP for five years. Unlike many officers in DROP, those new employees also would be making individual contributions to the retirement system.

That Campbell is not me, fwiw.

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