Archive for Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Sheriff seeks retirement fund switch

July 26, 2000

Sheriff Herb Nye says it would be easier to hire officers if the county had a better retirement plan.

And shifting his department's retirement fund from Kansas Employees Retirement System to Kansas Police and Fire would help, he said.

"I need it for recruitment," Nye said. "Everybody else around me has better retirement than we do. Some people say prospective applicants won't pay any attention to that, but that's not true any more."

The difference is simple.

"In 25 years, an officer under Kansas Police and Fire could retire with 62.5 percent of his average income," Nye said.

"Under KPERS, you have to work until you get to an 85-point system. If you have the points after working 25 years, you'd have an 43.74 percent of your average salary for retirement."

But the higher retirement would mean increased costs for the employee and the county, because both would pay a higher rate each month.

The initial switchover would cost county taxpayers about $3 million, the sheriff said. It's not clear what the annual price tag would be once the buyout occurred.

Nye, who has been with the sheriff's department since 1970, said he's been pushing for this for years. Nye said that approximately five years ago, the switch was approved by the commission, but not funded.

A month ago, Nye thought he saw a turning point when, he said, Commissioner Wayne Eldridge indicated that commissioners had agreed to put the retirement issue on the Nov. 7 ballot.

"And now there supposedly seems to be a question, as to whether there was a (commission) vote on it," Nye said.

Linda Scheer, county clerk, said Tuesday that to her knowledge the commissioners did not vote on this.

Judy Wells, payroll supervisor in the office of the county clerk, said sheriff's officers currently pay 4 percent and the county pays 2.62 percent of the salaries to KPERS. This amount also includes insurance, she noted. The county's rate varies, she explained.

From January 1 through July 11, the county has paid $30,265 into KPERS for sheriff's officers.

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