The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday approved legislation that would offer a new pension package for incoming county employees that aims to save the county money, in addition, the same bill would reduce the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s retirement package.
The bill would require new hires to make a 4 percent contribution to the county’s retirement system, in which could save the county $27 million over the next 10 years and $300 million over the next 30.
The bill would also rollback previously approved pension benefits to St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch under the county’s retirement plan.
The bill was passed 6-1, with Councilman Pat Dolan voting against the measure, stating that he supported the new pension package for incoming county employees as an effort to save money, but was against the rollback of McCulloch’s pension.
The reduction of McCulloch’s pension change is in a response to a pension measure that was passed last fall which was meant to improve benefit packages to retain quality employees.
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.
Erby and other critics voiced their concerns that the legislation was specifically crafted to benefit McCulloch.
Stenger said after the vote that he supported the first portion of the bill which would save the county millions regarding the new employee pension, but had an issue with the bill’s sponsor Councilman Sam Page tying it with the rollback of McCulloch’s retirement plan.
“I believe that the bill is an important bill is an important bill. It provides over 30 years, about $300 million dollars of savings (and) in the first 10 years it’s $27 million dollars so it’s a significant savings for the pension,” Stenger said. “The second portion of the bill that relates to Bob McCulloch’s pension, I think that’s really an unfair move on the part of (Councilman) Sam Page to do what he did, particularly after the council basically unanimously passed the bill the first time through.
“It reached its target and in that respect, the bill was successfully passed but I think it was cheap.”
If McCulloch retires in 2018, he would gain around $20,000 more per year than if the changes were not set in place.