Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott did the right thing by vetoing Bill 22-0292. The bill would shorten to eight from 12 the years of service it takes for city elected officials to vest in pension benefits (“Baltimore Council President Nick Mosby chides mayor over pension veto, says he won’t lead but would support an override attempt,” Dec. 5). Before he’s elevated to sainthood for his action, however, it is worth noting that Scott’s veto, if not overturned, will preserve his own early access to an extremely generous pension under existing law.
Under current law, officials elected on or before Dec. 5, 2016, are entitled to a pension at age 50 with 12 years of service, or a pension at any age upon completion of 16 years of service. Assuming that Scott has requested and received pension service credit for his city employment going back to 2007, before he joined the City Council in 2011, he will have 16 years of city service if he leaves office next year at the end of his current term and immediately will be eligible to receive an annual lifetime pension of about $82,000.
Bill 22-0292 would remove this option and replace it with the right to a pension at age 55 after eight years of service — a considerable delay for the 38-year-old mayor.
Aside from the veto, which won praise from city residents, there is one other right thing Scott should do. He should call upon the city’s Elected Officials Compensation Commission to do a top-to-bottom review of the Elected Officials’ Retirement System. It is long past time for an informed public discussion of the type and generosity of pensions that city elected officials should receive, and that discussion has become more important in light of the newly adopted term limits on those officials.
— David Plymyer, Catonsville
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