West Manchester Officers Argue Over Increase to Pension Contribution Rate

By AMY MARCHIANO
For the Daily Record/Sunday News

Posted: 03/24/2011 11:05:29 PM EDT

   

York, PA – West Manchester Township police officers understand there’s a law saying they have to contribute 5 percent to their pension plan. But they don’t think it’s fair.

That’s what representatives of the township’s Police Officers’ Association told township supervisors Thursday night during a grievance hearing.

“We fully understand that the law exposes us to a 5 percent contribution rate,” Officer John Hanuska said.

The board of supervisors changed the contribution rate from 0.826 percent to 5 percent for uniformed officers and 2 percent for non-uniformed personnel as of Jan. 1.

Financial realities this year made the increase necessary, township manager Kelly Kelch said. The board can choose to decrease the amount but “isn’t required to do that by any means,” he said.

Officer Matt Emig, president of the association, said the issue came down to “fairness.”

“We know that it’s not getting any easier for the township than it is for our families considering the economic climate,” he said. But a look at the contribution rates required since 1983 shows that the rate previously did not exceed 2 percent.

“We don’t want to go through arbitration in this matter,” he said, adding, “It’s not favorable to have somebody to tell you how to do your business.”

Officer Adam Bruckhart argued that the rate change this year was “illegal and unfair” because it differs from the police contract that was settled last year.

Kelch said he expects that the 5 percent contribution rate would be in place for the foreseeable future — likely five or six years.

What’s next

Supervisors held an executive session after the meeting and will issue their decision within 10 days.

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