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Sheffield council considers rehiring police chief after retirement

SHEFFIELD — Village Council is considering a resolution that would allow the police chief to retire and then be rehired in order to receive additional state retirement benefits he’s not currently eligible for.

Chief Larry Bliss has worked in Sheffield for 28 years, was appointed chief in 2009 and he now wants to enroll in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System Deferred Retirement Option, or DROP, Plan.

Under the plan police officers and firefighters with 25 years of service have the option to accumulate a lump sum of money for retirement on a tax deferred basis during their working years.

Those contributing to such plans can only do so for a total of eight years and a person must be enrolled in such a plan for three years to take advantage of a the plan.

But Sheffield police didn’t employ full-time staff until 1998 meaning Bliss, who turns 62 next month, can’t currently enroll in a DROP.

If Council allows him to retire and the village rehires him he will then be able to enroll in the plan and he would work for another three years until he retires again at age 65.

“We didn’t go full time until 1998 and because of that I can’t get into the DROP program,” Bliss said. “I went down and talked to the pension board and they suggested this is the route to take.”

Sheffield Law Director Tom Smith said public employees in many municipalities often are rehired after retirement for a number of reasons and he sees nothing wrong with it.

“People that talk about double-dipping are just wrong,” Smith said.

“This is something that’s earned, it doesn’t cost the village a penny and it’s all been pre-paid for by deductions out of the employee’s salary.”

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.

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