Paid firefighters concerned about pension proposal

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Apr 12, 2013 4:01 AM

(Harrisburg) -- A group representing more than 10,000 paid firefighters across the commonwealth is concerned about a proposal to change pension plans for municipal workers.

The Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters Association would like to see more discussion on a plan to freeze pension plans for current workers, like firefighters and police officers, and shift new employees to a mix of a defined benefit and a 401k-style plan.

President Art Martynuska says retirement benefits are critical in one of the most dangerous professions in the country.

"By the time they're ready to retire, what this would force our folks to do, because there's no guarantee of what you're going to get when you retire, they'd have to stay longer," Martynuska says. "We'd a have a cadre of 60-to-70-year-old firefighters."

Martynuska says he's also concerned changes to pension plans could make it difficult for communities to retain their firefighters.

Supporters of the overhaul see the bill, offered by Republican state Representative Seth Grove of York County, as a way to check rising pension costs they say could make communities choose between raising taxes and cutting services.

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