Police/Fire, Politics

Olszewski announces deferred retirement option program for Baltimore County police officers, firefighters

TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Tuesday announced that, following County Council approval, Baltimore County will now offer a Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) for police officers and firefighters hired after July 1, 2007. The program allows these employees who stay with the County for three years beyond their normal service retirement to earn a lump sum payment upon their separation from County service, creating an incentive for experienced first responders to defer retirement.

“We are grateful every day for our brave and selfless first responders, and this new benefit demonstrates our commitment to making sure we continue to honor them even after they retire,” Olszewski said. “It will also enhance our efforts to recruit and retain world-class talent, and it will create an incentive for veteran officers and firefighters to continue their work on behalf of our communities, lending their experience and expertise to keeping Baltimore County safe.”

Participating employees who stay for at least three years beyond normal full retirement eligibility – or 30 years of service for a firefighter and 25 years of service for a police officer – will have a lump sum payment for three years of retirement benefits, known as a DROP allowance, deposited into a DROP account upon their separation from the County. The account will also consist of the employee’s contributions made to the retirement system during their three year DROP period, as well as 5 percent interest on the DROP allowance. Upon retirement, the employee may receive the account accumulation in a single lump sum, or they may roll it over into an eligible retirement plan.

This new program provides a benefit similar to one already received by police officers and firefighters hired prior to July 1, 2007.

Under an agreement reached between the County and the unions representing police officers and firefighters, those employees will increase their contributions to the retirement system – making the new program cost neutral for the County.

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