If the state of Alabama doesn’t update state law regarding the public employees retirement system, it may end up having a negative impact years down the road for the Vestavia Hills Police and Fire departments, leaders from both departments said.
In the 2012 legislative session, the Alabama Legislature changed the way employees were classified, with employees starting their jobs on or after Jan. 1, 2013, classified as Tier 2 employees and everyone else as Tier 1. With that came a change in retirement benefits, with Tier 2 employees receiving a lower monthly benefit into their pension, not being able to convert sick time into the pension and having to be 56, with 10 years of service, before receiving retirement benefits. Tier 1 employees can retire after 25 years of service at any age, or at age 60 with at least 10 years of service.
“It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” Police Chief Dan Rary said.
Rary and Vestavia Hills Fire Department Battalion Chief Shawn Jackson said they want the Legislature to pass a law allowing municipalities to opt back into Tier 1 benefits. It should not be mandatory, Rary said, but cities need the option to take care of their employees.