Some Baltimore County cops retire with half-milliion dollar payouts
Worried about your pension? Not some Baltimore County police commanders. The Sun's Alison Knezevich reports today that some are retiring with lump sum payments of $500,000, in addition to yearly pensions in the six figures.
It's all because of a unique retirement program designed to keep top cops on the force a little bit longer. The city did the same thing for police and firefighters, but the payouts weren't nearly as high, and leaders disbanded the program several years ago calling it an unaffordable luxury.
Deferred Retirement Option Programs allow employees who delay retirement to receive the one-time payments when they leave, in exchange for smaller annual pensions. County officials said the county must contribute $7.5 million to its pension fund this year for the program, according to an actuarial analysis.
Such programs, generally used to keep experienced workers on the job, have raised questions around the country as governments debate how much they cost in the long run. Baltimore City's public safety unions sued to try to keep a similar program after the city decided to eliminate it last year. Baltimore County ended the benefit for new public safety hires in 2007, although it still has one for other employees.
Three county police majors left their jobs this year with payouts of more than half a million dollars each, according to the figures. They also have annual pensions exceeding $150,000. Another six police employees — four captains and two lieutenants — left with payments of more than $400,000 each.