Sunrise pensions: Commissioner Alu says cost too high
In her final act on the dais, Commissioner Sheila Alu plans to take up the lucrative pensions promised to workers at Sunrise City Hall.
On Tuesday, Alu says she will discuss the millions paid to those who have retired from the city, and whether there might be a chance for pension reform.
Alu said she’d like to see a referendum on the March 12 ballot asking voters if they want pension reform or tax hikes and layoffs at City Hall.
For the measure to make it onto the ballot, three commissioners would need to approve the plan by Jan. 9, she said.
“If they don’t want to do it, they don’t want to do it,” Alu said. “I just think we need to do something.”
Last month, Alu requested records on pension payouts made from October 2011 through September 2012.
According to the city, $3.5 million went to retired police officers; $3 million went to retired firefighters and $6.5 million went to retired general employees. Those numbers do not include payments made to those who were in the city’s DROP, or deferred retirement option plan.
Alu says she began researching the retirement plans after finding out the “ridiculous” amount she will get when she leaves office Thursday.
Alu is in line to receive $1,600 a month. In the event of her death, Alu’s beneficiary — her daughter – would receive $1,200.
Sunrise officers who retire collect their full pension at 53; and firefighters at 50. Firefighters hired after Sept. 25 of this year must wait until 55.
General employees can receive full benefits at 58 if hired before Oct.1, 2009. If hired after, they must wait until 62.
Sunrise would not be the first city to take up pension reform.
Last year, Hollywood voters approved drastic pension changes to save the city $8.5 million. Hollywood’s police union has filed a lawsuit challenging those changes.