Monday, February 7, 2011

The St. Louis Police Pension Fund: A Model for the Nation

There's a battle brewing in Jefferson City over "local control" of the St. Louis Police Department. It's a local issue that is always played out at the state level because of the history of St. Louis. In 1861, the state government seized control of the police forces in both St. Louis and Kansas City out of fear that those police would be used by the union against confederate interests.

The fear today comes from St. Louis policemen that worry that their pension will be looted by city hall. Those fears are justified given that city government has tried desperately to cut corners on the firefighters pension and, as the video above illustrates, at least one Alderman has designs on the police pension fund. The city is trying to strong-arm local control through in Jefferson City.

While that battle is being fought, the news story that isn't getting any play is the strength of the St. Louis Police Pension Fund. Day after day we hear about the problems of public employee pensions, but here's an example of a fund that has been run well. The fact that city government is walled off from the pension by the state is a strong argument for leaving the current oversight structure in place.

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