Governor says he proposed police retirement plan to fiscal board
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Tuesday that he submitted to the Financial Oversight and Management Board a proposal to address some of the demands by police for a dignified retirement.
“I will continue to search for other alternatives that can provide greater benefits to the police force,” the governor said in a written statement. “I recognize the hard work and great courage of the Puerto Rico Police. I know that in 2013 decisions were made that seriously harmed their pensions and compensation for work and the sacrifice of years of service, so I am not going to rest in the search for solutions to this situation in order to address the demands they make,” said the governor in a written statement.
The governor’s comments came after a group of police officers demonstrated earlier in the day at the Democracy Plaza in front of the Capitol in Puerta de Tierra for a dignified retirement.
According to the police, some 220 police officers from different parts of the island participated in the demonstration.
Officers from the San Juan precinct were at the plaza to keep order. No incidents were reported.
The governor also noted that the government has already identified the funds needed to provide the Vital Plan, the government-sponsored health coverage, to the police who do not have medical insurance and are retired. In particular, he said, those who suffered a reduction in their pension when retiring after the reform of the Government Retirement System in 2013 would benefit.
“I am committed that there are no police officers without a medical plan, after they have given service to our people,” Pierluisi said. “Likewise, I will encourage those who still have several additional years of work ahead of them to have access to Social Security, to ensure that everyone has a dignified retirement.”
The governor added that police are among the public servants who are protected under Law 447 and Law 1 for defined pensions, which were frozen in 2017. He said the initiative is estimated to have a fiscal impact of about $17 million annually and has the potential to help more than 1,200 retired police officers and more than 5,000 who would retire in the coming years and for those who, even if they do not qualify for the Vital Plan, the government of Puerto Rico will pay the cost of their premiums annually, beginning in January 2022.
Pierluisi said meanwhile that the proposal to improve the retirement of the police covered under Law 447 and Law 1 was also submitted to the oversight board. With the measure, which he said would impact some 6,200 officers, the government’s aim is that they obtain the equivalent of 50 percent of their salary upon retirement. To that end, Pierluisi said, the government would acquire annuity contracts so that when policemen reach retirement age they receive a complementary payment that increases their compensation.