Memphis officers celebrate reinstatement of 1978 pension plan

“Now more than ever, these efforts are essential in maintaining our public safety workforce, and this investment will help us do that.”


By Ashley Silver

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis recently announced the reinstatement of its public safety pension plan for officers and firefighters hired after 2016.

According to Action News 5 and city officials, “Upon retirement, employees will receive a monthly benefit, which is a percentage of their highest 3-year average.”

All employees hired before July 1, 2016, are already enrolled in the 1978 pension plan, but the new change expands benefits for those who were not under the previous plan. Action News 5 reported all commissioned police officers, firefighters and dispatchers have the option to participate in the pension plan in an effort to recruit and retain first responders.

“Now more than ever, these efforts are essential in maintaining our public safety workforce, and this investment will help us,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told Action News 5. “With today’s change, the 2019 public safety referendum will allow us to offer the 1978 pension as an option for all of these essential employees.”

The mayor is waiting for the city council’s approval before the changes can take effect in July 2023, but he is confident the funds are there to add approximately 1,000 employees to the pension plan.

Public safety employees can contribute 8% of their salary towards retirement and the city matches the contribution of no less than 6% of the employee’s salary with the plan.

“This is a great place to work but the benefits just haven’t been what other departments had,” Memphis Police Public Information Officer Theresa Carlson told Action 5. “We’re making great strides to do that, [and] I really believe this is a step in the right direction for retention of our officers – our well-trained officers.”

Officer Carlson told Action 5 News the new pension plan will truly be life-changing for her family.

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