Saturday, February 13, 2016

Should Lisbon pay Early Retirement Health Insurance by Joe Hill

Last night the Town Council had a workshop to discuss the retirement package that will be offered to Police Chief Brooks and his second in charge Lt. Michel. 

At this workshop Chief Brooks gave a presentation that sold this retirement package as a $177,000 dollar savings to the taxpayers of Lisbon.
Yes you heard it right, by spending over $120,000 thousand dollars on an early retirement for these two Officers we are supposed to think we are saving money.

The logic goes like this.  If we give our two top Officers the right incentive they will retire and by not replacing Lt. Michel's position we will save all this money. ($59,000 dollars a year)  This so called savings in the Police Department budget is only realized if we do not replace one of the retiring officers. This savings is tied directly to the reduction in personnel.

What we are not being told is that the Council and Chief Brooks are seriously considering hiring a new Patrol Officer instead of hiring a new Lt.  This hiring will negate any savings realized by eliminating the previous position and will turn that $177,000 dollar three year savings into at least a $100,000 dollar expense.

Chief Brooks connects the loss of Lt. Michel's position as a savings connected to his retirement but does not acknowledge the new hire of a Patrolman as being connected to the retirement. In reality we will be replacing a Lt. with a Patrolman.

He  only counts staff  changes that can be spun as a savings.

Bottom Line: We currently have 14 full time officers. If the Chiefs plan goes as planned we will still have 14 full time officers.  (no overall savings)

Facts not taken into consideration:
  • This staffing change will probably generate more overtime cost than anticipated.
  • Chief Brooks has already retired once. In 2003 he retired  from Lisbon Police Department with a retirement account of about 1.7 million dollars.
  • There is another Lisbon employee that is eligible for this retirement package but it is my understanding this gentleman wants to keep serving Lisbon.
  • We are setting a precedent that could cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future?
  • According to Chief Brooks these negotiations have become adversarial. The Chief, Dan Michel and the Town have all retained legal services. I wonder how much these negotiations will cost in legal fees?
Do we really want to pay $60,000 plus thousand dollars to someone that has actually only spent 12 years of service to Lisbon.  The Chief has already taken a very generous retirement for previous service.

I do not think it is morally right to take tax money from struggling taxpayers to pay for early retirement health care costs of someone that has already retired  with a seven figure retirement package.

Joe Hill

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