Newly hired Baltimore police and fire employees would have a hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plan under a proposal introduced June 23 by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
In 2013, the mayor unveiled a 10-year plan for dealing with a $686 million unfunded liability in the $1.5 billion Baltimore City Employees' Retirement System and a $765 million unfunded liability in the $2.4 billion Baltimore City Fire & Police Employees' Retirement System.
The latest proposal to place newly hired fire and police employees in a hybrid plan is now before the City Council finance committee, but is not expected to come up for a vote until fire and police unions and city officials try to negotiate possible compromises.
Police and fire employees now pay 10% into their pension fund. The mayor's proposal calls for 6% going into the defined benefit portion and 4% into the defined contribution portion of the new hybrid plan.
Fire Chief Niles Ford “supports the mayor's plan to improve the city's long-term financial stability,” said spokesman Ian Brennan, who declined to comment on the specific pension proposal.
On May 5, the City Council passed pension reform legislation that gives newly hired civilian workers a choice between a hybrid plan and a defined contribution plan. The changes were a compromise between union officials and the mayor who said in a statement that the final outcome “shows that government and labor officials can sit down in good faith and work out a compromise that is fair to workers and protects the city's bottom line.” New city employees will contribute 5% of their salaries to either plan. Current workers started contributing 1% last year to the city employees defined benefit plan and will reach the 5% contribution level in four more years.