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Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan March 12, 2012

Pension benefits for police maintained under Buckhorn

During the 2011 campaign for Tampa mayor, the police union was concerned that a new mayor might try to change the city's pension agreements with police officers. So the Tampa Police Benevolent Association asked this question of all the candidates:

"In recent years, other state and local governments have targeted the costs associated with law enforcement officers' pensions as a major contributor to the financial burdens of government. Typically, these pensions allow an officer to retire sooner than other government employees and usually with a larger percentage of their salary guaranteed to them as a pension payment due to the stressful, both physical and mental, demands of the job. In addition, the Tampa police officer pension allows the officers to opt out of paying social security tax, thereby reducing costs for the City since the City also does not have to pay social security tax. Question: Would you attempt to impose any type of legislation that would reform or reduce the pension benefits that Tampa police officers currently receive?”

Buckhorn's one-word answer: "No."

Since Buckhorn's election, the city has negotiated a new contract with the police union. Both Buckhorn and the union president agreed that there were no changes to the benefits police received under the pension program. Greg Stout, a Tampa police detective and the president of the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, said he believed that Buckhorn has kept his promise on this one.

We also reviewed the city's contract and noted no significant changes to the pension program.

To sum up, the group that elicited the pledge from Buckhorn said he has maintained pension benefits for police. We find nothing to contradict that. We rate this Promise Kept.

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