Pension Payout Error Pits City Against Its Cops

( – Chicago Police officers have received a letter telling them they must contribute to their pension fund thanks to a payroll error. The Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 7, says it will file a complaint on behalf of 3,000 affected officers and insist that the City pay the amount requested. The letter described a “fiscal year discrepancy” and “a payment shortfall” on contributions. The discrepancy meant that retroactive salary contract payments in 2022 were added to that year’s salary cap, the letter stated.

Officers in the Windy City received a 2.5% base increase in 2023, which was backdated to early 2022, but a statement on the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago website notes that the City did not withhold the correct 9% of salary amount, causing a shortfall.

It goes on to state that, by law, the Fund must collect the missing amount and an additional 3% statutory interest. It warns that the amount will be withheld (with accrued interest) from future pension payments if it is not paid.

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara posted a YouTube video blaming incompetence in the Chicago Police finance department and lashing out at the pension fund for not highlighting the discrepancy sooner. Catanzara confirmed that his union would file a class action grievance demanding the City pick up the cost, particularly the 3% interest.

Members have until August 31 to send a check to the Fund, with amounts ranging from $80 to $1,300. Mr. Catanzara, “I know nobody likes to get a bill, and it should have never happened.”

Government statistics show that Chicago police officers earn around $83,000 per year. This rises to $113,586 for Sergeants and $123,317 for Lieutenants. Detectives earn an average of $160,619, while records clerks, at the other end of the scale, earn $43,846. Illinois police are among the highest law enforcement earners in the country, but lower than the national leader, California, which has an average police salary of $193,330.

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