Drop the 'DROP' program [Letter]

January 27, 2014

In Baltimore City, there are still pension enhancement programs in place (called a "DROP Program") to offer an incentive for active police officers and firefighters not to retire, but retired police officers and firefighters have gone almost seven years without any type of cost-of-living raise (including those injured in the line of duty, which is just shameful). The only exception to this is for those 55 years old and even then they get a paltry 1 percent cost-of-living increase.

It should be noted that no other group of former city employees or retired elected officeholders have been frozen like the police and firefighters. They all have continued to get cost-of-living raises. What's ironic is that police and firefighters pay the most into their pension system — more than any other union for a whopping 10 percent currently. They don't receive Social Security so their pension is the only thing they have to live on.

Every year, Baltimore gives tens of millions of dollar to the DROP program to sustain it. In good financial times, this would be OK, but in difficult years like we have had, this money could have been used to give retired police and firefighters a cost of living adjustment and better fund the pension plan. Once again, greed plays a part here while retiree's get nothing and find themselves in court just to get a COLA, the easy answer is to just get rid of these rich enhancement projects that are for a few.

This money could be better spent serving everyone, including those police officers and firefighters who were injured in the line of duty making the supreme sacrifice for this city who deserve a simple raise.

Joey Bullock, Baltimore

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