Monroe County Sheriff wants to cut pensions, save taxpayer money

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Nov. 11, 2015) -- The Monroe County Sheriff is hoping to gain approval for his plan to cut pensions and save taxpayer money.

Sheriff Brad Swain, who is in his first year on the job, wants the Monroe County Council to sign off on changes to his department's pension plans.

"I’m trying to ensure that the plan in the next 50 to 60 years is going to be fiscally sound," Swain said.

Right now, any employee 55 or older can draw a pension upon retirement, no matter how long they have worked in the department. A sitting Sheriff, as well as high-ranking officers, can also get a pension with just eight years of service. Swain wants to change both of those provisions so that only long-time employees could get pension benefits.

In the case of two former Sheriffs and one official, Swain said taxpayers are shelling out $48,000 per year to just those three people, despite all of them drawing pensions from other law enforcement agencies.

"A person serving as Sheriff two terms can work here eight years and draw as much, if not more, on his pension than a deputy that worked 30 years," Swain said.

Swain himself has worked in the department for 30 years, so the changes to the plan would not affect his pension.

He pointed to other counties across Indiana that are implementing similar changes, including Morgan and Greene counties.

Swain has already taken the issue to councilors, who are considering the proposal.

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