Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl are urging Treasury Secretary Timothy J. Geithner to clarify its pending regulation in order to avoid mass retirements by Wisconsin public safety employees by year's end.
Baldwin and Kohl wrote to Geithner regarding final regulations that are set to go into effect on January 1, 2013, which could raise the retirement age for Wisconsin's public safety employees to age 62.
Unlike other states, all of Wisconsin's state employees -- including public safety workers -- are covered under the same retirement system. Currently, Wisconsin's public safety employees, such as police officers and fire fighters, can retire at age 53 with 25 years of service or at age 54 with less than 25 years of service. The Treasury regulations would require all of Wisconsin's state employees be treated the same, resulting in a normal retirement age (NRA) between 55 and 62 for all state workers in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS).
Baldwin and Kohl are asking Treasury to issue guidance clarifying the matter to keep Wisconsin's public safety employees from having to retire before they are ready.
"Wisconsin's public safety officers risk their lives to keep us all safe," said Congresswoman Baldwin. "We owe it to them and their families to ensure a fair retirement that honors the dangers they face at work. It is my hope that the Treasury Department will act swiftly to guarantee that its regulation does not take seasoned Wisconsin police and firefighters off the job," Baldwin said.
"Our police officers and fire fighters work in physically demanding jobs that often put them in harm's way, and Wisconsin's retirement system rightly recognizes that service," Kohl said. "We're not asking for special treatment - we are only asking that Wisconsin's public safety workers be treated like those in every other state and not be punished because of the unique structure of the state's retirement system."