Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday announced reforms to the city’s controversial retirement program that pays veteran police officers and firefighters their salaries and pensions simultaneously for the last five years of their careers.
Under the plan, Garcetti said pension payments would be suspended for officers who miss significant time due to injury or illness. Those officers will still collect their salaries while they are out recovering from their ailments.
A Los Angeles Times investigative series this year found that nearly half of the officers who have joined the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) since its inception in 2001 have taken injury leaves, typically for bad backs, sore knees and other conditions common with advancing age, regardless of profession. The average absence was about 10 months, but The Times found hundreds of cases of individuals who had taken off for more than a year at essentially twice their usual pay.
The list includes a married couple — a police captain and a detective — who joined DROP at around the same time and collected nearly $2 million while in the program. They both filed claims for carpal tunnel syndrome and other cumulative ailments about halfway through the program. She spent nearly two years on disability and sick leave; he missed more than two years, according to a Times analysis of city payroll data. The couple spent at least some of their paid time off recovering at their condo in Cabo San Lucas and starting a family theater production company with their daughter, The Times found.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.