The Good News on Iowa’s Municipal Fire & Police Retirement System

Recently the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa wrote about the strategies being used by at least one of central Iowa’s local governments to contain public safety costs, and to reduce exposure to pension-related costs.

Management of overtime was cited as a one of the strategies that contains current costs, as well as limiting pension-related costs.

Contrary to the statement above, under Iowa Code Chapter 411.1 overtime may not be used in the calculation of earnable compensation.  This means that overtime does not drive up pension-related costs, though of course it still makes sense to limit them in the present.  Thank you to Dan Cougill, Iowa Police and Firefighter Trustee, Local 7 President, and State Services Representative for pointing this out.

So how much can an officer earn at retirement?

According to system statistics, the average annual salary for an officer with 30-34 years of service (30 years being the minimum service required for the maximum retirement payout) is currently $82,174.  An officer whose final three working years occurred after 30-34 years of service could therefore receive in retirement 82 percent of the final three years’ salary, or $67,400 per year.  The payment could start as early as age 55.  Moreover, officers who choose to enter the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) can earn their salary AND bank from 52 percent to 100 percent of their retirement benefit, each year, for up to five years.

Retirees from this system do not receive (nor pay for) social security benefits, which would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $24,000 per year.

We appreciate the dialogue with members of the 411 systems and their careful attention to the accuracy of information about their systems.  For more information, go to http://www.mfprsi.org/

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