St. Louis County Council drops pension hike for county prosecutor
Updated Thursday, Nov. 30 with new comments from McCulloch:
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch blames “political vindictiveness’’ for the County Council’s decision to get rid of a pension increase for his job that it had approved last year.
Council Chairman Sam Page says the issue is fairness.
The council voted 6-1 on Tuesday night to drop the pension increase. The council’s action means that county prosecutor will now receive a full pension from the state and two-thirds of a county pension. The council had voted last year to allow the prosecutor to collect a full county pension, in addition to the state pension.
After the vote, Page noted that the council also approved a bill Tuesday that reduces pensions for new county workers. Dropping an increase for the county prosecutor’s pension was part of a compromise, Page said.
“There was only one other county in the state that offers one and two-thirds pensions for the prosecuting attorney that we can find, and that’s St. Charles County,” Page said. “Every other jurisdiction forbids two pensions for one job.”
But McCulloch said Thursday that Page is wrong. Almost every other county in the state allows for the county prosecutor to collect two pensions -- one from the state and the other from the local jurisdiction -- to compensate for their low pay. The city of St. Louis is among the few exceptions, the prosecutor said.
In his case, McCulloch noted that the county pension board had recommended the increase for his job to compensate for the lower pay that the county prosecutor receives, compared to veteran lawyers in private practice. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, McCulloch makes $160,000 a year.
McCulloch contended that the council had reversed itself after receiving faulty information about his pension.
He also asserted that some council members still harbor resentment because McCulloch had opposed the 2014 re-election bid of then-County Executive Charlie Dooley. McCulloch backed Steve Stenger, who now holds the county’s top job.
“From the outset, this was nothing but pure political vindictiveness on their part,” McCulloch said.
But the prosecutor added that his own political plans remain unchanged. He already has announced he will seek an eighth term in 2018.
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