House Approves Allegheny County Pension Reform
2/6/2012

HARRISBURG – Voting to protect Allegheny County taxpayers, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) today said needed Allegheny County pension reforms are headed to the Senate for consideration.

“Changing the Allegheny County pension system will protect our taxpayers, yet ensure a fair retirement plan for county workers,” Tuzai said. “The House today voted to end the abuses of the system and save taxpayer dollars through commonsense changes.”

House Bill 1761 establishes a new mandatory benefit tier applicable to Allegheny County employees hired on or after the effective date of the bill. Specifically, the bill:

• Amends the definition of “compensation” to eliminate overtime compensation from the retirement benefit calculation.
• For non-uniformed employees, the length of service required to receive normal retirement benefits will increase to 25 years while retaining age 60 as the normal retirement age.
• For public safety employees, the length of service required to receive normal retirement benefits will increase to 25 years while retaining age 50 as the normal retirement age for police officers and firefighters, and age 55 as the normal retirement age for the county sheriff, deputy sheriffs, prison guards and probation officers.
• Increases the length of service required for vesting to 10 years for all classes of employees.
• For retirement benefit purposes, extends the period over which the final average salary is calculated to the highest 48 months of the last eight years of employment or the last four years of employment if compensated on a bi-weekly basis.
• Increases the length of service required to receive service benefits to 25 years.
• Increases the minimum length of service required to be eligible for early retirement to 10 years.
• Increases the minimum length of service required to provide survivor benefits to 10 years.
• Increases the length of service required to provide survivor benefits under disability retirement to 25 years.

The legislation also brings the Allegheny County Retirement Board up to date by removing the county commissioners. The board will consist of:  the county chief executive; one member who shall be a member of the retirement system and who shall be appointed by the chief executive with the consent of county council; one member who shall be a member of the retirement system and appointed by the county council; the controller; the treasurer; and two persons elected by ballot among the members of the retirement system. 

“This legislation can bring stability to the pension system, and save taxpayers more than $1.2 billion over the next 50 years,” Turzai said. “It is a change that’s needed.”

The legislation heads to the state Senate for consideration.

State Representative Mike Turzai
28th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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