BECKLEY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – The City of Beckley has voted against the pension board’s decision to decrease pension payments for city police officers and firefighters. The vote passed unanimously during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
City Attorney Bill File read a lengthy resolution detailing the possible pension change and what it meant if the city voted in favor or against it.
According to File, pensions paid to retired employees are paid based on length of employment.
For example, if any employee worked for 20 years and six months and paid into his pension for the duration of his employment, he would be compensated for 20 years and six months’ worth of benefits upon retirement.
However, in a recent audit, the pension oversight board stated that the city should correct the way they calculate pension befits, only compensating employees for full years worked and discarding any partial years.
For example, if any employee worked for 20 years and six months, he would be compensated for only 20 years’ worth of benefits upon retirement, regardless of if he paid into his pension for the duration of his employment.
File says the pensions have always been based on fractional parts and council’s vote against the decision guarantees it will remain that way.
After the issue was put to vote, Mayor Rob Rappold asked Ward IV Councilman Kevin Price, a retired firefighter, if he had any comments. Price said that several municipalities across the state are seeking relief from other pension oversight boards and are even considering legal action.
“The support of council tonight solidifies what pension boards have been doing for many, many, many years,” he said. “They pay out over $1 million a year. We still grow and continue to grow.”