Changes in retirement affecting West Lafayette

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — West Lafayette is losing more than 50 years of experience mainly due to a change in the Indiana Public Retirement System.

Earlier this summer, Street Commissioner Dave Downey retired after 34 years on the job. Now, Parks and Recreation Superintendent Joe Payne will retire at the end of the month after 21 years.

Starting Oct. 1, Indiana PRS will start calculating annuities as lower rates. It’s a change passed by the General Assembly last year. Those who retire before Sept. 1, like Payne and Downey, will be able to keep their 7.5 percent rate before it drops to 5.75 percent.

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said it’s a practical choice, but it is unfortunate for public offices.

“For those of us who are responsible for providing public service, it can really leave a gap. Both Joe Payne and Dave Downey have done things in this city that is going to be difficult to replace,” Dennis said.

Payne told News 18, “This probably makes the date easy. I wasn’t particularly thinking about it. It’s just a decision to make.”

Downey’s replacement, Doug Payne, was sworn in Tuesday.

Dennis said he is currently doing a nationwide job search to replace Joe Payne. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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