Legislation Introduced in Dover Would Mean More for Retired First Responders

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Legislation introduced Friday in the Delaware General Assembly would boost contributions to working Delaware first responders. House Bill 266 would expand the definition of compensation considered in the calculations of retiree pensions for the County and Municipal Police and Firefighter Pension Plan. The legislation is proposed by Representative Cyndie Romer (D-Newark), who is the daughter of a firefighter. The measure has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The General Assembly returns to Dover in January.

Additional information from Rep. Romer’s release:
“They’re the first to respond, rushing toward danger and putting themselves at risk,” said Rep. Romer. “As the daughter of a fire fighter, I feel especially connected to our first responders and appreciate the selfless sacrifices they all make daily.”

The bill would allow compensation county and municipal firefighters and police officers earn from mandatory extra hours to be added into the calculation of their pensions. Currently, these earnings are not included in the calculation for first responder pensions, leaving a potential gap in retirement benefits.

“Our first responders deserve credit for every hour that their employer requires them to be on the job,” said Sen. Jack Walsh, the Senate prime sponsor of HB 266 and vice-chair of the Senate Labor Committee. “This legislation will make the pension calculations for our first responders fairer and more reflective of the time they are on the job protecting the safety and welfare of our communities.”

“Through the years, we’ve seen a decline in those volunteers that once readily answered emergency calls throughout Delaware,” added Rep. Romer. “This has led to an increased burden on those in paid positions, often resulting in mandatory overtime. It’s only fair that these overtime hours be added into retirement calculations.”


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