During Tuesday night’s St. Louis County Council meeting council members approved Councilmember Hazel Erby’s substitute bill which would roll back the previously agreed upon county pension plan.
The substitute bill would offer the same reduction in St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch benefits under the county’s retirement plan which was approved by the council in 2009.
Even though the bill was approved, St. Louis County Councilmembers still have to vote on the legislation at a later Council meeting.
The proposed change would reduce the prosecutor’s pension by one third if the prosecutor also received a state pension along with his county retirement benefits.
The substitute bill is in a response to a pension measure that was passed last fall that was meant to improve benefit packages to retain quality employees.
Erby and other critics voiced their concerns that the legislation was specifically crafted to benefit McCulloch.
The changes were part of a bill sponsored by former County Councilman Mike O’Mara and supported by St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger to allow McCulloch to gain access to full state and county pensions.
If McCulloch retires in 2018, he would gain around $20,000 more per year than if the changes were not set in place.
In addition to the changes in McCulloch’s retirement benefits, the bill allowed employees who have gaps of two or more years in their county work history to also count as years of service into their pension.
According to Stenger, the St. Louis County Retirement Board noted the elimination of the two-year break in service requirement would “encourage desirable former county employees to return to County service by eliminating the requirement that they vest again in the plan to be eligible for retirement benefits for their returning service.”
The St. Louis County Council is planned to discuss the subject during a committee hearing sometime next week.