PERF changes cause more than 300 years of experience to retire locally

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – The numbers are large. By the end of the week more than 50 years of experience in West Lafayette, 100 years in Lafayette and 170 years in Tippecanoe County offices will be gone. More public employees are choosing now to retire.

“I think most of them were fueled by the change,” Tippecanoe County Commissioner John Knochel said.

“That was their primary reason for leaving because of those changes in the annuity,” Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said.

Those changes Roswarski and Knochel are talking about deal with the Indiana Public Employees’ Retirement Fund annuity rate.

As News 18 previously reported, on Oct. 1 the rate will go from 7.5 percent to 5.75 percent. To keep the 7.5 percent you have to retire by Sept. 1 — that’s Monday.

Knochel said nearly 10 people retire by the end of the week, and two offices will take a big hit.

“The prosecutor’s office is losing better than 60 years of experience, and the parks department is losing better than 65 years,” Knochel said.

Last week we reported West Lafayette lost two department heads because of the change. In Lafayette, no department heads are leaving, but four other workers are retiring.

“That institutional knowledge. When you think of all the changes that have taken place over the last — for some of these guys — 30 years, there has been a lot of changes. And they’ve been able to make those changes, but still have the historical perspective that helps you not make mistakes,” Roswarski said.

Mayor Roswarski and Commissioner Knochel said salaries are competitive with the private sector, but often times are less. However, they said the job security in the public sector and the upward mobility in offices are helping them fill the open spots.

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