November 07, 2007

East Tennessee > Knox County Sheriff Pension Plan

I don't blog much about Knoxville politics. I work in Knoxville, but I'm a Maryville boy at heart. Even as a bystander who doesn't pay Knox taxes I'm appalled at the new pension plan for the Knox County Sheriff's office.

The new pension plan for the Knox County Sheriff's Office is going to cost $100 million over 20 years. Does that make anyone uneasy? Particularly the taxpayers, who are going to have to foot the bill?

When the proposal to change the pension plan was being debated last year, Ragsdale was up-front in saying it would cost $57 million in the beginning. The Fraternal Order of Police, however, said the change would cost $6.2 million.

We said at the time that voters needed more information before they voted. The FOP and other supporters made it into an emotional decision: Law-enforcement personnel put their lives on the line every day for the taxpayers, and they deserve a reasonable retirement. While that is true, defining "reasonable retirement" is tricky.

The pension was changed from a defined-contribution pension plan, similar to a 401(k), to a defined-benefit plan, which has a specific payout. As has been noted, under the new plan, former sheriff Tim Hutchison's pension goes from $20,000 to $80,000 a year.

Knox County voters approved the plan in a referendum, but somehow I don't think they knew what they were getting themselves into. And of course there are Hutchison's shenanigans that allowed him to stay on and qualify for the new pension plans even after he was term-limited out of office.

Posted by lesjones | TrackBack



Comments

As good as the free agent market is this year, and we wasted $100 million on _that_?

Posted by: Tam at November 07, 2007

TN does not have a statewide retirement program for police?

Posted by: ParatrooperJJ at November 07, 2007

When Knox County citizens and citizens outside of Knox County complain about the cost of the pension plan for our county police officers, no one ever mentions:

1. That the City officers have a similar pension plan to the one voted in by referendum for the county officers.....and the City officers have had this plan for years. What is wrong with making the City officers and County officers more on the same playing field?

2. The county officers had a 401(k) plan and all funds that were being held in those individual 401(k) plans had to be rolled over into the new pension plan. This money accounts for the difference between the 57 million stated by Ragsdale and the 6.2 million stated as needed by the FOP. So, Ragsdale once again did not truthfully relay information to the citizen's of Knox County in an apparent attempt to have the citizen's vote "no" for the pension.

3. It is never mentioned that the City officers get paid over time, get two $800.00 clothing allowance checks per year, and start off in a new cruiser....however, County officers do not get paid over time, do not get paid to go to court, get less than $600.00 in clothing allowance peryear, and we have some new officers still driving 1999 cruisers with problems. City officers also start out at a higher pay scale. Everyone is always complaining about the amount of tax payer money the county officer's use......does the City officer's not also use tax payer money....and more of it!

Posted by: Mitzy at June 04, 2008
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