Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's actions regarding city pensions show why Baltimore City will never be able to obtain and keep qualified police and fire personnel ("Federal court upholds mayor's pension overhaul," Aug. 6).

When people come on a job they sign a contract that outlines what they will receive for their services when they retire. Throughout their careers contracts are renegotiated and each party expects the other to abide by the terms agreed on.


However, this mayor has ignored what was promised to retirees. Because the city did not fund our pensions as required, she now claims the right to ignore the contract under which we retired and literally steal millions of dollars due to retirees.

Under the "variable benefit," retiree raises were based on the stock market. Not once were we given a raise during the period the market was down, nor were we offered any type of relief.

Then the market almost tripled, putting millions back into the system. We were due the raises rightfully negotiated under the contract. But along came our greedy mayor and took the money.

Only a fool would stick with this city. That's why Baltimore County and other surrounding counties come to our police academy graduations and pick off the top graduates. So far, I haven't heard any other jurisdiction doing to retirees what this city has done.

I put in more than 31 years with the Baltimore City Police Department, and when I retired in 2003, it took two years before I received my first raise based on the variable benefit.

When the market went south, I didn't complain; I knew what the terms were. Once the market recovered, I expected the city to honor the contract under which I retired. This mayor stole our money and this court fight is about breaking the police union.

Why would anyone commit to long-term employment with the city? The mayor has shown the city can't be trusted to honor the commitments it made to retirees.

L. Caster

The writer is a retired Baltimore City police officer.


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