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Oakwood retirement plan upgraded
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Oakwood city employees now can use a combination of their age and years of experience to qualify for full retirement benefits.

Previously, retirement with full benefits was set at 65 years old with at least 30 years of experience. The city found that employees have logged 30 years but have to wait many more years before hitting 65.

"You could quit working after 30 years, but then you would have to wait around to 65 to start drawing," City Manager Stan Brown said.

"We've got a number of long-term employees ... and they still have a lot of working life in them before they would ever reach the point of retirement," he added.

Oakwood City Council has approved the change, after asking city officials to look at several options.

There were different scenarios, including ones that featured a yearly cost-of-living adjustment.

The city settled on the "rule of 75," meaning that an employee can retire with full benefits if their age and years of experience add up to 75. But city officials didn't go with the yearly pay adjustment, saying that "would have been just costly," Brown said.

Brown said he believes the change particularly benefits those in especially demanding jobs, such as public safety.

"Our public works employees are a lot of times exposed to not the best of working conditions," he said. "You're looking at working outside when it's cold and wet. You've got people working under the less than perfect settings.

"We thought (the retirement plan) was a reasonable thing to look at."

Brown added that while the city may not "equate to our surrounding cities when it comes to salaries, we try to offset that with having a good benefits package."

Mike Morris, an Oakwood police officer for the past 4 1/2 years, has a ways to go before retirement but said he was excited about the change.

Morris, 24, said if he stayed with the city force, he could retire at 47 1/2 years old.

"That's a big help for me, a big difference," he said. "And with the city, we don't pay anything into
(retirement) -- the city pays for all the retirement. Now that they've made the deal even better, you can't ask for more than that."


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