Council To Debate But Not Decide Higher Retirement Age

April 01, 1991|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer

The County Council tonight will discuss legislation to raise the retirement age for appointed and elected officials from 50 to 60 years.

Though the bill is sponsored by all seven council members and therefore assured of approval, it will not be voted on tonight. County attorneys have noted legal problems with the bill as written, Council Chairwoman Virginia P. Clagett, D-West River, said.

The bill applies to all employees who retire on or before July 1.The lawyers found it is illegal to rescind an employee's vested right to retire at a certain age, Clagett said.

With her amendment, the bill would apply only to employees hired after last Nov. 30, when the Neall administration took office.

Clagett said she will suggestthat final action on the bill be delayed until the newly appointed Pension Oversight Committee has had a chance to review it. The committee, appointed by the county executive, was confirmed by the council at its last meeting. Clagett wants a second public hearing, to be conducted April 15, so the committee may make comments on the bill.

The county's pension law last was changed in 1989, when the council drew sharp criticism for reducing the retirement age for elected officials and top-ranking department heads from 60 to 50. The rationale was to make the retirement age consistent with that of police and fire officials, who may retire at age 50 after 20 years of service.

The Neall administration supports returning the retirement age to 60. In fact, it had been working on its own pension bill when the council introduced its legislation.

In other action tonight:

* The councilplans to discuss its vacation policy for legislative branch employees before its regular meeting.

The issue arose earlier this month, when three council members released a letter supporting limits on theamount of vacation time legislative employees can accumulate.

They recommended copying County Executive Robert R. Neall's policy for executive branch employees, which limits workers to 35 vacation days plus any time accrued in the year they leave county government.

Thecouncil members' letter contradicted a memo from Clagett, which suggested that legislative workers be allowed to keep vacation time accrued as of Feb. 1, 1991.

About five employees would be affected by achange in policy.

* The council plans a public hearing on a bill extending temporary regulations for permits allowing rubble landfills. A council-appointed rubble landfill committee continues to work on permanent legislation governing rubble landfills.

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