• The San Juan Daily Star

Governor: Police pension alternatives are being discussed with fiscal board

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Wednesday that he is in discussions with the Financial Oversight and Management Board to seek alternatives that will allow police officers to retire with an adequate pension.

The oversight board refuses to accept Act 81 of 2020, which would allow police, firefighters and prison guards that have 30 years or more of public service and who have reached the age of 55 to retire with up to 50% percent of the salary earned at the time of retirement. Police officers who retire at 58 would have the right to receive up to 55% of the salary earned at the time of retirement.

A 2013 law reduced the pension benefits of police officers, who at the time were allowed to retire with 75% of their salary after meeting certain requirements. Last year, the government enacted a law allowing police officers who enter the force to qualify for Social Security. Act 81 was enacted to help some 6,000 police officers whose future pensions were drastically reduced after the 2013 law.

“There are conversations with the board to attend particularly to this sector,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “The board is receptive, because if there is a sector that deserves to have a dignified retirement, it is those policemen, because they are not going to be able to benefit from Social Security.”

Asked if one of the options will be to approve new legislation only for that group of policemen, Pierluisi answered “that is always an option.”

“Law 81 is blocked by the board,” he said. “The board has objected to its implementation and has the power to do so under the PROMESA [Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act] law. What I guarantee you is that we will address their claims.”

Asked about the government’s actions in the event that there is another police work stoppage for the month of December, the governor said that “we hope not, because their claims are being addressed and we will continue to do so within existing resources and conversations with the board.”

“The [police] unions are having direct conversations with the board and my government as well, so we are going to stay positive, because a strike is not convenient for anyone,” Pierluisi said.

Thousands of police officers walked off the job over the Halloween weekend.

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