An independent arbitrator sided with the town of West Hartford last month in a dispute between the town and the police union over whether overtime pay can be included in pension calculations for officers who retire with 25 to 30 years of service. The decision, issued on August 29, held that pensions for officers hired under the 2006 union contract would be calculated using "average base pay," which excludes overtime compensation.
Connecticut teachers receive the highest average pensions, while Connecticut state employees rank second according to an analysis by a New Jersey based actuary. Connecticut’s teachers averaged $50,502 in pension payments putting them in the top spot, ahead of Illinois. State employees ranked second in the nation, behind California, with average pensions of $40,438.
Figures released Tuesday by the Office of Fiscal Analysis show Connecticut made big strides in reducing overtime, despite recent state employee layoffs. In fiscal year 2016, state agencies reduced overtime payments by 14.5 percent, $37 million less than the previous year. The biggest reduction in overtime came from the Department of Correction, which reduced overtime by $21.4 million, followed by the Department of Developmental Services, which reduced overtime spending by $5.2 million.
Ellis K. Hagstrom was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2014 for the repeated rape and sexual abuse of two disabled women he was supposed to care for while working for the Department Developmental Services. However, due to Connecticut’s strict policies on pension revocation Hagstrom will still be eligible to receive his pension. "Mr. Hagstrom's convictions do not qualify as predicate convictions," said Jaclyn Falkowski, spokeswoman for the Office of the Attorney General, "thus barring action by our office to seek revocation of his pension."
State employees who teach at Connecticut's colleges and universities won a unique opportunity in 2010: a partial escape from the effects of the Great Recession. The SEBAC ARP Grievance agreement specified that this was a one-time opportunity. However, Connecticut professors are still allowed to switch from the ARP to the state’s pension system because the IRS has not yet ruled the SAG award.
When people think of a major city declaring bankruptcy the city of Detroit often comes to mind with its sky-high crime rates and areas of urban wasteland. But as more and more cities like Hartford find themselves in impossible financial situations, sometimes filing for Chapter 9 can actually be the best alternative. If the city could prove it was insolvent, what would a Hartford bankruptcy look like?