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Retirements Increase Due to Issue 4

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Published on Nov 4, 2013

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio (Jeff Hirsh) -- Local 12 News has learned that an unusually high number of City of Cincinnati employees have retired early, afraid of benefit cuts if Issue 4 is passed by the voters Tuesday. And an even larger number has put in tentative retirement papers, which they can withdraw if Issue 4 fails. Issue 4 would replace the citys defined benefit pension plan with a 401K system similar to what is used in private industry for new employees, and limit benefits for existing city workers. Backers, who got the issue on the ballot with a petition drive, say the changes are needed to keep Cincinnati from becoming another Detroit, overwhelmed by pension expenses. But opponents, which includes both Cincinnati mayoral candidates, say Issue 4 would actually make things worse, leading to tax hikes, service cuts, and layoffs. According to the citys retirement system, 8-10 city employees retire in an average month. But effective November 1, 47 city workers had retired. In addition, the retirement system tells us, another 130 workers put in tentative retirements, which can be withdrawn if Issue 4 fails. One of those submitting a tentative retirement is Barry Whitton, a civilian information technology expert with the police department, who supervised installation and operation of 150 anti-crime surveillance cameras citywide. Whitton, who has been with the city for 34 years, says he could lose $20,000 a year from his retirement benefits if Issue 4 passes. Whitton says he does not want to retire. I really have projects that Im involved in, that I want to complete, he says. I like my job, I like my work.

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