County foots bill for

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 24, 2000

supernumerary positions


Staff Writer

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Sept. 23, 2000 11 PM

Passage of Local Amendment 2 could mean thousands of dollars for the county, in the long run.

On the Nov. 7 ballot are listed a number of amendments and some of those deal with eliminating supernumeraries in particular counties. If passed, Pike County’s officials eligible for the supernumerary system would be given the opportunity to participate in the Employees’ Retirement System.

Anyone elected in the future would receive retirement through the Retirement System of Alabama.

Pike County Administrator Steve Hicks said the issue has come up "almost every two years" and the people of Pike County passed it last year, but it failed statewide.

So, this year, county officials decided to try to get a local amendment passed.

Hicks said two of the elected officials in Pike County are eligible under the supernumerary system. Those are Revenue Commissioner Curtis Blair and Sheriff Russell Thomas.

At this time, the county is paying $28,000 to pay for the supernumerary system out of its coffers. Money that goes into the retirement system is contributed by the public officials and invested. After 10 years of service, an individual can receive benefits from the RSA.

If out from under the supernumerary system, the county would only have to pay about $387 per year, Hicks said. He added, if every elected official in Pike County was under the RSA, the county would only have to pay $729 per year, compared to the $28,000 being paid under the supernumerary system.

"Really, it’s more of an advantage," Hicks said of the retirement system.

Under the current law, Blair, who earns an annual salary of $52,500, would be entitled to 60 percent of that salary after 12 years of service, 65 percent for 14 years, 70 percent for 16 years and 75 percent for 18 years.

With two officials under the supernumerary system, Hicks said there is the potential for the county to have to pay out $75,125 a year.

"Realistically, it’s a long-term benefit (for the county)," Hicks said, adding the benefits to the county would not be immediately seen.

"There’s the potential to save a lot of money," he said.

If someone under the supernumerary system dies, the spouse receives half of what the deceased would be entitled to over 15 years.

Hicks said "back in the dark ages," the supernumerary system provided for certain elected officials to be able to bring an experienced person back in the event something happened and the current officeholder could not take care of all his or her duties. It later developed into a retirement system.

In recent years, Pike County’s judges joined the judicial retirement system, leaving only the revenue commissioner and sheriff eligible for supernumerary status.