December 1, 2011
Several top police officers in Baltimore County retired this year with lump-sum payments of more than $500,000 under a program started seven years ago for public safety veterans.
The Deferred Retirement Option Program lets employees who delay retirement receive the one-time payments when they leave, in exchange for smaller annual pensions. Three police majors who retired this year received more than $500,000.
The Sun requested figures on retirement payments for county employees who have retired since June 1 of this year. Click here to see a list of retirement information from the county.
One police major, who retired June 1, left with a DROP payment of nearly $520,000, plus more than $101,000 for unused vacation and comp time. The major’s yearly pension will be more than $158,000.
Another seven police retirees got DROP payments of more than $400,000.
Union officials emphasize that while the numbers are high, the beneficiaries are getting reduced annual pension benefits.
The County Council approved DROP in 2004 in a move meant to keep experienced employees on the job longer. The optional program was part of an agreement reached in 2001 by then-County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger’s administration and public safety unions.
Public safety employees hired after 2007 aren’t eligible for DROP.
… How ironic. The DROP program in 2004 under Ruppersberger was meant to keep experienced members on the job longer. Now, under Kamenetz in 2011 they can’t wait to get rid of them and are literally pushing them out the door. Go figure! …