Friday, November 29, 2019

With CMPD Chief's Double Dip Scheme Gone Does He Deserve a RNC2020 Bonus?

This is the perfect question:

"Cedar, interesting to know your opinion of this article. When I retired, one of the many forms I was given asked if I wanted to come back as a reserve officer. This was shortly before the reserve program was abolished per Chief Monroe. Of course I checked "no."

Just curious if the later retirees were given a similar form asking if they wanted to be "rehired?" If so, is this not the same situation as Chief Putney? Planning to come back as a rehire prior to retiring. Should make for some interesting conversations.

Maybe Monroe could come back as temporary chief if Putney retires."

Here's the WSOC TV Story that prompted the question:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With the State Treasurer's Office not budging on its position, the city of Charlotte is exploring new ways to keep the chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in place through the Republican National Convention, multiple sources told Channel 9.

Potential options include a compensation increase or a bonus.

This all stems from an ongoing controversy dating back to October when the city of Charlotte announced chief Kerr Putney's retirement plan.

The plan is for Putney to retire Jan. 1, take a couple months off and then return to serve as police chief through the Republican National Convention.

The State Treasurer's Office said that pre-planned arrangement to return to service is illegal.

The city and state have been talking the past couple weeks and the state's position has not changed.

In an email sent last week to employers participating in the State and Local Retirement Systems, the state reiterated its position:

"We must reiterate that the State and Local Retirement Systems in North Carolina cannot pay retirement benefits when an employee has pre-arranged to return to work in any capacity after retirement," the email said.

In an interview with Channel 9 earlier this week, Putney expressed his frustration over the whole situation.

"It is disappointing that it went to the state," Putney said. "I was hopeful we could resolve this so state retirement wouldn't be part of the conversation. Here we are."

Sources told Channel 9 the city is looking at all options to try to keep the police chief for the convention.

The options according to sources is additional compensation or a bonus for Putney to make up for money that he would have received had the original plan come to fruition. This falls under city manager Marcus Jones' authority.

An exact dollar figure isn't available, but is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. Terms of a potential bonus are unclear including whether it will be for retention or whether it will require an achievement of certain goals.

A spokesperson for Putney did not respond when asked if he would be interested in that.

Chief Putney told us earlier this week that this is out of his hands.

"My job's not done, my job's not done yet," he said. "I wish we could be talking about something other than retirement, right now I am done talking about it." 

Cedar's Take:

Several things going on here and none of them pass the smell test:

First - the retire and hire back program or programs have always been a sham. The general public is not smart enough to understand what is going on but here's the simple gouge on this scheme: 

If you wait until age 65 (the age most "boomers" consider retirement age) your NC State monthly Pension is reduced by the amount of your social security. But if you "retire" at say age 50 and don't take social security until 62 you can ride on the backs of North Carolina and Charlotte Taxpayers for 12 years. We are talking serious green. 

(Age 62 is the age at which the "city supplement" stops.) 

Plus, if you can work your CMPD job at your usual pay after a brief "vacation" so much the better. After all that's the game we are in to win, more savings for retirement. 

In effect it is double dipping at tax payers expense while also continuing to build your retriement via social security "nest egg" that you're not touching.

Second - Any "scheme" to fatten the pay grade of the chief just to have him work through the convention won't go over well with the boots on the street. 

Plus the number of CMPD Officer planning to jump ship before RNC 2020 if the scuttlebutt is true will mean even fewer manpower numbers.


Common Sense said...

makes perfect sense now seeing all these “retirees” come back to work after “retiring”. draw a pension check, a paycheck, and a supplement check. sounds like a good way to run the state retirement system insolvent just like they did to the pledge fund but at least ya’ll got ya’lls right?

hopefully the state pulls its head out of their asses and ends it but knowing how the state works i’m not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Cedar are you sure that is how the scam works? Is it really a pension and not just like a 401(k)? What is the supplement? I'm not CMPD but I'm pretty taxpayers have not idea they are being taken like this.

Anonymous said...

To comment about the hire back program, one needs to understand the hire back program. The hire back program is a part-time system. Officers come back to work 20 hours a week and work special events as needed. The pay is a flat off duty rate. There is no further contribution into the retirement system to “fatten” the employees benefit payout. So, the taxpayers are NOT being taken advantage of.

The hire back system is a necessary “evil” if you will. It gives the department the ability to plug holes that cannot be filed due to the lengthy hiring process require and the time it takes to put an officer on the street.

If the state is upset over it being “pre-arranged” then perhaps the state needs to consider changing the policy. There is a huge void in law enforcement nationwide. Recruitment and retention is at an all time low. (Special thanks to the snowflake society) for that.

Anonymous said...

1:48 excellent points. I certainly agree it is a necessary evil. But in Putney's case it was clear he was only retiring to get the retirement money flowing. also it is unlikely he'd only work 20 hours a week. But if he's taking retirement and a monthly benefit but is really working it sort of defeats the true purpose of a retirement plan.

I know a dozen people who "retired" and then took jobs elsewhere which seems to be ok under the current rules.

Anonymous said...

1:48...yes...the State could care less if a retiree works in the private sector. The State is trying to avoid cities like Charlotte from using hirebacks in place of new officers who would otherwise be hired and pay into the system. All the City had to do was offer a salary sufficient to cause a qualified candidate to apply and work in a liberal sewer.

Anonymous said...

1:48-Where is the money to pay the "flat off duty rate" obtained? The taxpayer? Also, you failed to mention that hire-backs are also allowed to work off-duty jobs. That money would be paid by the business(es) using the off-duty officer.

Bleep bloop said...

At 1107 CMPD is near 300 officers short. So the hirebacks are being paid from money already allocated to CMPD. Well except Putneys salary I am sure he'll he over standard off duty rate.

Anonymous said...

11:07, of course the money is being paid by the taxpayer. It’s a discounted cost because benefits are not being paid on top of the salary. The off duty flat rate is often cheaper than their retired, hourly pay scale. It’s not the burden the state says. Off duty has nothing to do with the impact on the retirement system or “double dipping”.

Take a look at all the unfilled off duty jobs. Again, a necessary evil but a discounted evil at that.

Anonymous said...

It blows my mind that everyone is pissed about the hirebacks but not the mandatory on-duty pulls for off-duty jobs that don't fill. The hirebacks are saving the city money by filling slots that are going unfilled with folks already trained and paying them a lower rate than a new hire with no benefits.

The on-duty pulls are basically pulling money from the city coffers to pay off-duty that doesn't fill. There is literally no downside to having a big event and paying the bare minimum because if no one signs up you won't have to cancel or move the event, the CMPD will just pull on-duty folks to staff it leaving the taxpayers on the hook and dropping officers answering calls!!!

SteveN said...

The hireback system is one thing........The hireback scam as illustrated by the several proposals to pad the Chief's retirement is quite another. Your average hireback at CMPD could only DREAM of the sweepstakes giveaway offered to Chief Putney. THAT'S the point. Not to mention the arrogance of the pronouncement BY the Chief when this store was still breaking. The bullshit reasons given for needing the Chief. And the fucked up game of 'musical chiefs' they were going to play during 2020 and through the RNC. As if morale and staffing aren't suffering's obvious that the Department's bread is buttered on the side of top-down back-scratching.

Anonymous said...

Yall be putting Lt Stukey on blast on here. I think shes cute. Minus the wrinkles and camel toe. You just gots to get her to stop talking all the time.

Anonymous said...

Non LE here 11:10 are you saying CMPD is using on duty (city paid) to cover things like parades, Panthers and Hornets games if there are not enough secondary off duty officers who sign up?

Anonymous said...


Yes, have been for years!

Bleep bloop said...

At 5:22
Yup. They will pull several on duty from every division for large unfilled events.

This is resources that are supposed to be guarding your neighborhood. Instead It is pulled for and event the vendor is supposed to be paying for with officers who are off duty.

Anonymous said...

You wanna talk about wasting tax payer money... how bout the fact that half the staffing at the airport is hire backs?
I can't wait for the state treasures office to get ahold of that information. King has really dicked things up over there.

Anonymous said...

Yea clearly states hire backs have violated the retirement law when an agreement was made when they retired to come back to work, but the hire backs obviously think they’re above this law since they continue to work.

Anonymous said...

It would appear that the new Fire Chief is more interested with a lot of Chiefs than 4 firefighters on the trucks.