Md. legislation would fix retirement inequity for correctional officers

Bill allows those who moved from one retirement system to another to transfer unused sick leave to get full credit for the total amount of sick leave accumulated

March 26, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU |

ANNAPOLIS — State employees who were formerly part of the Correctional Officers’ Retirement System but were transferred to a different retirement plan because of a change of position within the same organization currently cannot get a credit for their accumulated sick leave at the time of retirement.

This, according to a local legislator, creates an inequity because an employee can lose hundreds of hours of accumulated sick leave at the time of retirement because they accepted a promotion, and consequently was involuntarily moved to a different retirement plan.

A bill by Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, which has cleared the House of Delegates, is trying to address the issue. The bill, which was cross-filed by Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, in the Senate has cleared that legislative chamber and is scheduled for a House committee hearing Wednesday.

According to the state’s Department of Legislative Services, the bill allows a worker who was moved to the Employees’ Pension System from the Correctional Officers’ Retirement System because of a change in position with the same employer but was not able to transfer unused sick leave to get full credit for the total amount of sick leave accumulated when that worker retires.


“There are problems with this transfer [from one retirement plan to another],” Serafini said. “Chief among these problems is accumulated sick time. … That credit does not carry over [at retirement] even though you are still an employee of the state. You might be working in the same facility, but maybe you got promoted to management.”

The Department of Legislative Services estimates that the state’s “pension liabilities increase(s) by approximately $120,000 in FY 2016,” if the bill passes.

Serafini pointed to a situation from Washington County as an example of the “inequity.”

Richard Miller is the Chief of Security of the Maryland Correctional Training Center located in Washington County.

Miller accepted a promotion in 2007 from his then position as a correctional officer captain.

But because he was transferred to a different retirement system after his promotion, he will not be credited with the approximately 2,400 hours of unused sick leave he had accumulated in his previous position when he retires, according to current regulations.

Another effect of a change of retirement plans, said Miller, who is 49, is that he is not eligible for retirement benefits until he is 55 even though he was eligible in his previous position because he had completed 20 years with the correctional services.

“It is the idiosyncrasies of the system. Had I known about all this, I would have stayed as a captain,” Miller said.

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