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Cops Retire Earlier, City Saves Cash

By Karl Klockars in News on Jul 23, 2009 8:40PM

thebuckstopsheretheeerin0709.jpg The Sun-Times is reporting today that the city and the FOP have reached a deal to let veteran officers retire at 55 instead of 60, in an effort to save as much cash as humanly possible. Cops retiring at the new lower-age cutoff would take a "staggered payout" of their comp time, whereas previously, older police retiring at 60 would otherwise be charged co-pays until Medicare kicked in at 65.

The hope is that between the early retirements and a potential influx of federal funds, the city can move out some older cops while clearing room for some fresh recruits (who, of course, cost the city less to pay their lower salaries). While trying to formulate an opinion in our admittedly financially-impaired brains, we also checked what Second City Cop had to say about the plan:

There are something like 46 recruits in the Academy. There were supposed to be 200 this year. Even if the federal money appeared out of thin air tomorrow with no strings attached, there's no one in the pipeline...Now with "55 for coverage" being a reality, we can realistically expect 250 to 300 additional retirements around the end of the year. A bunch of the old timers are going to bid their furloughs and leave. A good win for the FOP, but if you think we were shorthanded already, buckle in for 2010. That's not being pessimistic - that's dealing with the reality of the hiring process.

Despite the fact that our initial kneejerk "this seems sketchy, Chicago" response is kicking in, this plan would save the city $23 Million over the next three years, according to the S-T. In addition, CPD SuperNintendo Jody Weis believes it will lead to a younger, better-trained police force. However, there are a couple two-tree questions off the top of our head that have not been answered:

  • What is the cost/benefit analysis of paying for benefits earlier to people who aren't working - at the same time as people continue to live longer?
  • With a 2009 Operating Budget of 7.65 billion, is the 23 million over 3 years (just 7.66 million a year) a proverbial drop in the bucket? Is there a bigger reason for this move?
  • Since Mayor Daley seems happier to spend money on cameras versus cops, what is the actual likelihood that we get more cops on the streets at all?

Or: everything could be fine, we're a bunch of jaded assholes, and we're saving $23m. Y'know, one or the other.

"The buck stops here" by TheeErin.