I love what I do. Being a police officer is a calling, a noble calling. When I first began my career there was a promise made to me and my fellow public servants that after 20 years of service and upon reaching age 45 we could retire with a reasonable guaranteed pension. We pay about 9 percent of our weekly gross salary into the retirement fund. The municipalities paid about 6 percent.
Over the years the retirement system was allowed to use peculiar accounting methods and the municipalities were allowed to reduce their contribution to 1 percent when at the same time we still had to kick in our 9 percent. So now, low and behold, to no one's surprise the retirement system is dangerously underfunded. I understand that the downturn in the national economy coupled with the municipalities being let off the hook and the unrealistic accounting methods used resulted in the current state of the system. It is important to note that all of these things were beyond our control.
Now the State of New Hampshire is seeking to change the rules of the game while the game is still in progress. They want to raise our contribution to 11.5 percent among other changes. Those of us who are in public safety have understood and accepted the tacit bargain made with us. We accepted lower salaries for security and reasonable benefits in exchange for a secure, guaranteed retirement pension. With the new changes to the laws governing our retirement and collective bargaining, we are simply being cheated. To correct a problem that was not of our making we are being required once again to make a greater sacrifice.
It appears that the sacrifices that we make every day have not been enough. The missed family gatherings and special family events due to the job; The putting our lives on the line every day that we go to work; The exposure of losing everything we have because of a frivolous lawsuit or worse, a disabling work related injury; and the many other sacrifices we make; have not been enough.
There will be unintended consequences to these law changes that will negatively impact upon public safety! I hope that our lawmakers pause, reflect and listen to the legitimate concerns of their public safety workers. It's not too late!
Again, I ask when did we become the bad guys?