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April 23, 2002—The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&) issued the following comment regarding today's signing of Senate Bill 134 (SB 134) by Ohio Governor Bob Taft.
OP&Fapplauds Governor Bob Taft and the members of the Ohio General Assembly for recognizing the value of providing an additional retirement benefit to Ohio's public safety officers. Senate Bill 134 will enable OP&Fto offer Ohio's police officers and firefighters a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) to its members as an optional, value-added retirement benefit. We commend Senator Louis Blessing's leadership in sponsoring SB 134 in the Ohio General Assembly and thank Representative Kirk Schuring for his key role as a co-sponsor of the bill and in quickly bringing the legislation to the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Once DROP is implemented by OP&, the program will be available to public safety officers in Ohio who have reached the age and years of service needed for retirement. Once DROP participation begins, members continue to work and draw salaries from their police or fire employers. Benefits begin to accrue for members consisting of the monthly amount that would have been paid to them if they had retired, plus a portion of ongoing OP&Fmember contributions and interest. Upon retiring, OP&Fmembers would receive their monthly pension payments and health care benefits, and would also be able to withdraw funds from their DROP accounts. Members will be able to enroll in the DROP program for a minimum of three years and a maximum of eight years.
DROP benefits all Ohioans because it provides an additional incentive for our most experienced and skilled public safety officers to remain on the job, providing their leadership and expertise and also helping to train our incoming officers. The program will be available to OP&Fmembers without additional cost to employers, OP&Fmembers, taxpayers or OP&. OP&Fis currently working to establish the necessary procedures to implement DROP for its members.
With life expectancy in America increasing, DROP presents a way to offer police officers and firefighters an additional level of comfort in retirement that matches the security they have provided to all of us through their public service.
Senate Bill 134 has been endorsed by the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, the Ohio Retirement Study Council and the Fraternal Order of Police."
For more information, interviews or a digital photograph of the bill signing, please contact:
William J. Estabrook, OP&F(614) 628-8352
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Contact: Dave Graham (614) 628-8396, email@example.com