Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Town Council raises police retirement age to 65

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The Chesterton Town Council has raised the mandatory retirement age for a Chesterton Police officer from 60 to 65.

It did so at its meeting Monday night, where members voted 4-0 to approve the ordinance on first reading, 4-0 to suspend the rules, then 4-0 to approve the ordinance on final reading.

Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, was not in attendance.

Since 1977, the CPD has had an established mandatory retirement age of 60. It was the only municipal department in Chesterton to have any mandatory retirement age and one of only three PDs in Porter County to have one. The other two--the Portage Police Department and the Indiana State Police--have both set their retirement age at 65.

The problem, if you’re a 60-year-old ex-CPD officer forced to retire: for the next five years, until you hit the Medicare age of 65, you have to find a new job with benefits, or pony up for health insurance yourself, or just go without.

Three CPD officers have retired within the last four years: Sgt. Fred Shivalec in May 2010, at age 58; Capt. George Nelson in April 2012, at 59; and Lt. David Adkins in March 2012, at 58.

The increased mandatory retirement age came to the council with a favorable recommendation from the Police Commission, chiefly on the grounds that officers shouldn’t be forced to retire before they’re eligible for Medicare.

As Police Chief Dave Cincoski noted, in a memo to the Police Commission on the subject of an increased mandatory retirement age, “At present-day rates, a retiring police officer earns a pension of $21,330 after 20 years of service. Present-day insurance rates for medical coverage range from $800 to $1,600 per month, nearly to more than half a retiree’s pension.”

Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson noted on Monday that Indiana Code establishes a mandatory retirement age of 70 for police officers employed by cities. But the law “is silent regarding towns,” he said.

Fire Protection Contract

In other business, members voted 4-0 to approve this year’s fire protection service contract with the Westchester Township Board.

Under the terms of that contract, the Town of Chesterton will be paid 83.6 percent of the Township Board’s fire protection funding and the Town of Porter 16.4 percent, based on the number of calls each FD responded to last year in unincorporated Westchester Township.

Chesterton’s share this year amounts to $31,600.

“It’s been the same contract for years,” Fire Chief Mike Orlich said. “The actual amount fluctuates sometimes.”

New Municipal Website

Meanwhile, Town Manager Bernie Doyle announced that the new municipal website goes live on Thursday.

In December the council approved a three-year $25,000 contract with CivicPlus of Manhattan, Kan., to tweak and manage the town’s website at www.chestertonin.org

 

Posted 4/29/2014