Retirement Systems

Bill would increase certain retirement contribution rates

The Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee heard testimony Feb. 14 on a bill that would increase the contribution rate for law enforcement personnel under the state’s County Employees Retirement Act.

Sen. Mike McDonnell
Sen. Mike McDonnell

Under LB160, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Mike McDonnell, the supplemental retirement benefit rate for counties that participate in the County Employees Retirement Plan would increase from 1 to 2 percent of compensation in counties with a population of 85,000 or less. The rate in counties with a population greater than 85,000 would increase from 2 to 3 percent.

McDonnell said the change would apply to all Nebraska counties except Douglas and Lancaster, which do not participate in the county plan. The increase would help create a retirement plan for county sheriffs and deputies that is competitive with other law enforcement agencies, he said.

Buffalo County Sheriff Neil Miller testified in support of the bill on behalf of the Nebraska Sheriffs Association. All state and local law enforcement agencies have difficulty attracting and retaining personnel, he said, and as a result some agencies are only 50 percent staffed.

“LB160 is critically important to help the sheriffs’ departments across the state of Nebraska attract and retain our deputies,” Miller said.

Jon Cannon, executive director of the Nebraska Association of County Officials, also spoke in support of the measure. The more rural a Nebraska county is, he said, the harder it is to compete for law enforcement personnel who may be attracted to other opportunities with better benefits.

“This is a great step forward,” Cannon said. “This is good for recruitment and retention.”

No one testified in opposition and the committee took no immediate action on LB160.

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