Medina boosts retirement benefits for firefighters, police

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2018 at 12:46 pm

Village trying to offer more incentives to stay with Medina long-term

Photo by Tom Rivers – Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward shakes hands with Jacob Reeves, one of six officers to be sworn in during this evening’s Medina Village Board meeting. Sgt. Todd Draper also congratulates the officers who have all been on the force for less than a year. Corey Collins is at right.

MEDINA – The Village Board on Monday approved changes in the retirement programs for both career firefighters and police officers, allowing their retirement benefits to grow if they work more than 20 years.

The village has capped the benefits at 20 years or 50 percent of the average of the final three years of their salaries. With the switch to the 384-e retirement plan, an additional 1/60th of the final average salary will be added to the annual pension for each additional year on the job. If someone works three more years after year 20, they would see their pension grow by 5 percent.

The new changes take effect on March 30.

Village officials are hopeful expanding the retirement benefits will be an incentive for firefighters and police officers to spend their careers with Medina.

“We can’t the match the salaries (offered by many other departments), so we’re trying to improve the retirement,” said Village Trustee Owen Toale. “We have to do something to stem the loss of these people.”

The village has experienced a lot of turnover in recent years with some firefighters and police officers leaving for better pay and benefits at other departments. That then leaves vacancies, driving up overtime costs. The village often fills the positions by putting new firefighters and police officers through training academies. That can cost about $15,000 for a firefighter to go through the 11-week academy for pay and tuition. The police academy is nearly a year and costs the village about $50,000 before the officer begins road patrol.

There are 12 police officers and 21 career firefighters at Medina.

The change in the retirement plans will cost Medina about $26,000. Firefighters and police made concessions to cut that village expense in half. They have reduced clothing and cell phone allowances and also given back some of their training pay.

“Some of firefighters and police go to other municipalities that offer it,” Mayor Mike Sidari said about the retirement plan. “We can’t offer larger pay, but this would be an incentive to keep them longer.”

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