Pa. State Police Warn of “Mass Exodus”

Warn that changes to state pension system could cause ranks to thin.

122 cadets graduated into the Pennsylvania State Police in May.

122 cadets graduated into the Pennsylvania State Police in May.

Pennsylvania State Police could lose up to 1,000 older troopers if the legislature pushes through changes to the state pension system, an official said Thursday.

“It’s not a threat; it’s a reality,” Joseph Kovel, president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, told a state House committee on Tuesday. “… A mass exodus of our most experienced and senior troopers will have a long-term and immediately devastating impact on our ability to sustain even the most rudimentary public safety services.”

TribLive explains what’s at stake:

Pennsylvania has more than $47 billion in unfunded pension liability — one of the highest amounts next to New Jersey, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.

Staunchly opposed by Democrats, Senate Bill 1 would curb benefits for existing employees and provide a 401(k)-style plan for new employees.

Wolf would let a 2010 law continue to reduce costs and borrow $3 billion to pay the unfunded liability. He would shut down what he says are exorbitant fees paid to Wall Street.

The Senate has already passed the bill. Kovel on Tuesday asked that state troopers be exempt from the bill — and the lowering of employee benefits— it it passes. Roy Pinto, president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association, made a similar request for his membership.

PennLive adds: “The House hearing will continue on Thursday, when lawmakers will hear directly – for the first time in a public forum – from the leaders of the largest state employees’ union.”