Troy considering switching retirement system

Published 8:42 pm Monday, February 17, 2020

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The Troy City Council will soon consider switching employees from Tier 2 of the Alabama Retirement System to Tier 1 in order to aid recruitment and retention.

City employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013, are on Tier 2 of the system, which requires 30 years of work before retirement and sets 62 as the earliest age an employee can begin drawing on that retirement. Public safety employees must also work 30 years to earn retirement and can’t draw on retirement until age 56.

Employees hired before Jan. 1, 2013, are already on Tier 1 of the system, meaning they can retire after 25 years working with the city and begin drawing on that retirement immediately.

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“The Alabama Legislature passed a bill last year that allows cities that participate in the retirement system to convert Tier 2 employees to Tier 1 employees,” said Mayor Jason Reeves. “We believe the benefit package at the Tier 1 level will keep us competitive in recruitment and retention of good employee. We’re in a position to do that in the next fiscal year. After discussions with the council and department heads, we feel like this is going to be in the best interest of the city”

Troy Police Chief Randall Barr said the Tier 1 system is a better benefit for police officers.

“With the stress of the things that police officers deal with day in and day out, it’s just hard on your body,” Barr said.

“For us, to do what we do physically and emotionally and mentally, a 25-year retirement is a very beneficial recruiting tool,” said Troy Fire Chief Michael Stephens. “If you get hired at 20 with the fire department right now and work 30 years, you still have to wait 6 years to start drawing retirement; that’s tough.

The switch back to Tier 1 would come at a cost – approximately $113,000 each year – but Reeves said the expected payoff is worthwhile.

“That is an estimate and some of that would be offset by employee contributions,” Reeves said. “This would put the entire city on the same retirement system. One of the things that has made the public sector attractive is the retirement benefits. It’s getting more and more competitive to hire and this is an opportunity to recruit and retain employees.”

“This should be huge, not only for us in public safety, but for the entire city to go back to Tier 1,” Barr said. “It’s a win-win for the city all the way around.”