Boothe, county push to end supernumeraries

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 24, 2000

Staff Writer

Sept. 23, 2000 11 PM

Webster’s dictionary defines supernumerary as "an extra person or thing."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

What the system was established for was to allow past officials to help out in time of need. But, in actuality, it has become an "extra" retirement system.

And, it’s that reason there has been a push statewide to elimiate it.

When it was put on the ballot last year, not enough Alabamians voted to eliminate the supernumerary system, so individual counties, like Pike, have put the issue to another vote this November.

But, the issue was voted for favorably by those in Pike County.

When voters go to the polls on Nov. 7, they will also see several amendments listed and two of those relate to Pike County’s stand on the supernumerary system.

Proposed Local Amendment Number 1 and 2 call for a vote by the people to "phase out the supernumerary system for certain public officials and allow elected or appointed county officials, as defined, to participate in the Employee’s Retirement System.

There are two on the ballot because the first one was originally planned for the ballot last year, but was pulled when the statewide amendment was put to the vote. In other words, Amendment 2 is the one that really counts.

The local amendment was put on the ballot after State Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, was approached by the Pike County Commission and he got the bill passed.

He said he "had no problem" with the bill because eliminating the supernumeraries will save Pike County money.

"The county’s have to pay the money, now," Boothe said.

And, he quickly added, there is "a lot of county money" being spent that could be saved.

For example, he understands supernumeraries are costing Covington County about $200,000.

Boothe said passage of the amendment will allow elected officials to go on the state retirement system if they are approved by the Retirement Systems of Alabama.

"It started out as a retirement system for people who have been in office a long time," Boothe said of the supernumerary system. "Not until recent times, could a lot of people get into the RSA."

He said switching from the supernumerary system "will not prevent anyone’s retirement."