Antioch may revise its employee retirement pay calculations to entice veteran police officers to transfer from other agencies.
The City Council on Tuesday will consider amending its contract with the state's Public Employees' Retirement System to incorporate a 3 percent at age 50 formula for public safety hires and 2.7 percent at age 55 formula for employees hired for other city jobs.
The enhanced retirement formula would apply to current employees and new hires before Jan. 1. After Jan. 1, the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act sets the retirement formula cap for new hires at 2.7 percent at age 57 for public safety and 2.5 percent at age 67 for other employees.
The meeting will be held 7 p.m. at Antioch City Hall, 200 H St.
The "3 percent at 50" pension calculation means that the new hires would be able to retire starting at age 50 with 3 percent of their final year of pay multiplied by years of service. Antioch switched its contract with its police union earlier this year to a 3 percent at 55 formula, which allows retirement starting at age 55 and calculates pensions based on 3 percent of the average top three years of annual pay multiplied by years of service.
Antioch is considering the change because it is having difficulty attracting enough candidates, Michelle Fitzer, the city's human resources director, said in a staff report. The city needs to fill 14 police officer vacancies, and would like to hire some veteran police officers from other agencies, or lateral hires. Seasoned officers take less training time than a trainee or recent academy graduate and could quickly be put out on the streets, city officials said.
Police Chief Allan Cantando said earlier this month that one lateral hire has already turned the city down ."We have to find a way to remain competitive, or we're not going to see laterals want to come to Antioch," Cantando said.
Concord, Richmond, San Pablo and Vallejo are among the East Bay cities that use the 3 percent at 50 retirement formula. Brentwood, Pittsburg, Walnut Creek and Martinez use a 3 percent at 55 calculation.
The difficulty in hiring new officers has also raised the question whether Antioch will be able to attract experienced nonsafety employees from other municipalities without enhancing the current retirement formula, which is now set at 2 percent at age 55.
Antioch has more than 150 staff vacancies from its authorized staffing level of 401 and will need to recruit for some positions. City leaders will have to consider if an enhanced retirement formula would give Antioch an advantage in filling those spots as well, Fitzer said.
Other incentives such as cash payments, increasing base pay or a deferred compensation contribution by the city could also be considered, Fitzer said.
PERS was unable to provide the actuarial costs to the city last week, but that information will be provided at Tuesday's meeting.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.