Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! We have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.

Pension, pay reasons why Waterbury police leaving force by Lance Reynolds. Like many public safety departments across the country, Waterbury, Connecticut, is having trouble staffing its police force. In a recent discussion with city residents and police officers, the reasoning behind the city’s mass exodus of police officers became abundantly clear: better pension plans and pay elsewhere are drawing potential employees away. The city has ordered a comprehensive efficiency study of the police department by an independent firm to garner recommendations for the future. The nearby city of Branford restored its pension plan for police officers in 2019 after struggling to fully staff their police department following the plan’s closure in 2011.

Great Recession Strengthened Public Pension Systems, Report Says by Financial Advisor Staff. Earlier this month, the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) released a new study detailing the health of public pension systems throughout the 2007-2009 global financial crisis known as the Great Recession. The research shows that overall, public pension plans developed strategies that sustained them through the crisis and set them up for long-term stability. “No investor was immune from the devastating effects of the Great Recession, including public pension plans,” said NIRS executive director Dan Doonan. “But despite the global turmoil, pension plans didn’t miss a beat delivering promised retirement income to retirees. In fact, more than $3.8 trillion in benefits have been paid since 2007.” Changes in the market and investment priorities of fund managers saw most public pension plans fully recover from the Great Recession by 2014. 

City restores traditional police pensions in hopes of luring more officers by Mike Crowley. Meadville, Pennsylvania, is not immune to the police staffing crisis. After closing its pension system to police officers several years ago, the Meadville Police Department found itself unable to compete with nearby municipalities that offered their police force better pay and pensions. Chief Michael Tautin described the toll staffing shortages take on current employees, saying, “These guys are working so much overtime, it’s putting strains on marriages, fathers aren’t seeing their kids, they’re here constantly. They’re to a breaking point where they’re tired. They’re just — they’re tired.” Meadville City Council voted 4-0 to approve a four-year labor agreement, returning the pension system until at least 2026. 

Be sure to check back in next Friday for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!