Sen. Ed McBroom introduces bipartisan corrections pension legislation
LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Senator Ed McBroom is introducing legislation to give new retirement options for state corrections officers.
It would allow officers to join a retirement plan, in which 50% of the plan is a pension and 50% is a 401(k). McBroom said the plan is similar to the one offered to Michigan State Police Troopers.
“We should be looking at our corrections officers in the same way we do as other law enforcement. The job they do is exceptionally dangerous. It’s something that generally most cannot keep doing up to the retirement age,” McBroom said.
McBroom adds that he has been working on introducing the bills for the past five years.
“I wish that we had done it sooner, it just has taken a lot of research and a lot of effort to put together this package to try and make it, so it doesn’t put the state into a fiscal bind that past pension plans have,” McBroom said.
McBroom hopes the bills will increase staffing at corrections facilities.
“We’re training many every year, but many don’t stay. The work is difficult, often underappreciated and the opportunities elsewhere for better pay and compensation are real,” McBroom said.
The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) is hoping to fill hundreds of open positions in the state.
“There are 800 to 900 openings for corrections officers around the state, we would like to see that number get down to 400 to 500. We’re not fully funded by the legislature to be at 0,” said MDOC Spokesperson Christopher Gautz.
Gautz said it does not have an official position on the bills.
“There’s a law from back in 1965 that says that any bill or attempt to change the pension system for state employees has to have a study done that is funded by general fund dollars,” Gautz said.
Gautz adds that the study would show how much the proposed retirement plan would cost the state and individuals.
“The legislature would need to first put forward a bill to fund a study,” Gautz said. “Based on what that study says, how much it would cost, then we’d be able to know much more about it and take a firmer position.”
The bills have been referred to the senate committee on labor for consideration. McBroom is asking the committee’s chairman to hold a hearing soon.
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