(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Police and Fire Commission Tuesday night voted to eliminate a retirement benefit for upper management in the police and fire departments. Since 1996, union contracts for police and fire have given represented employees 25-percent of the cost of the premium for their city-provided health insurance for the first ten years of retirement. The employee manual afforded the same benefit to non-represented management: the chiefs, captains and lieutenants. That translates to around $38-thousand dollars per person – for eleven management positions — based on today’s healthcare dollars.
Last month, the PFC voted to include wording in an updated version of the employee manual that protected the post-employment benefit for management. Last night, PFC Chair Jeff Kohman asked the commission to reconsider that vote, noting the budget impact. Kohman said that in 1996, when the plan was put in place, health care costs were considerably lower. Now, the costs of the benefit he says could fund entire positions. Kohman did express concerns that removing the benefit could stifle internal promotions to upper management positions. He said the commission would revisit incentives for management at a future meeting. The employee manual will be before the common council on Monday. The retirement benefit change would take effect with the next municipal budget.