Fulton County Sheriff’s Office proposes retirement plan to recruit and retain deputies

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JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino wants to keep deputies from leaving the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office for other local law enforcement agencies. He said 17 deputies have jumped ship since 2016, but he has a plan to prevent deputies from leaving in the future.

Sheriff Giardino said deputies are leaving for agencies like those in Amsterdam, Gloversville, or Johnstown for better pay and benefits, the top two reasons for resignation. He said, offering a 20-year retirement plan would assist in keeping deputies from leaving.

“Deputies have the same civil service requirements, the same required state training, the same responsibilities, and the same risks as city officers,” he said. “Fundamental fairness supports that they should have the same benefits, in the same county.”

If the proposal passes, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office would join the 97% of municipal law enforcement agencies that have a 20-year retirement plan, Sheriff Giardino said.

However, he said he needs the support of residents. He’s asking people to contact their town or city supervisor and\or the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Office to tell them they support the retirement plan under Section 553(b) of the State Retirement Law. Petitions will also be available for residents to signs at area businesses.

In a Facebook post on September 29, the Sheriff’s Office said they would be educating residents about the department in the coming weeks in order to drum up support. “In the next few weeks, the Sheriff will be posting important facts about the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. This is in an effort to help educate the public and is a prelude to the Sheriff’s proposed Recruitment and Retention Plan.”

Sheriff Giardino said people will be able to read more, comment on, or show support for the retirement plan on the Fulton County Sheriff Giardino Recruitment and Retention Facebook page.

He said estimates from the New York State Retirement Office place the annual cost of the retirement plan at $180,000 a year. An initial payment of $880,000 payable in one lump sum, over five ($200,000/year) or ten ($116,000/year) years would also be needed.

After the initial catch-up payment, the plan would cost taxpayers approximately $3 more on a $100,000 home. Providing half of the plan fees were taken from sales tax and the other half from the tax levy.

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