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City council OKs pension increase for firefighter group

WORTHINGTON — In a short, 20-minute meeting Monday night, the Worthington City Council approved a 2 percent pension increase for the Firefighter Relief Association, effective Jan. 1.

0 Talk about it

Initially, the relief association requested a 4.5 percent increase, but after meeting with city staff, they mutually agreed to a 2 percent increase. The city’s approval means an increase in the pension benefit from $2,725 to $2,780 per firefighter.

The last time an actuarial was conducted on firefighter pay was in 2012, and Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark said the department is due to have another actuarial completed in mid-2014. At that time, the relief association will ask the council to consider another increase.

“The relief association didn’t feel it necessary to redo actuarials (now),” Clark said.

Council member Diane Graber said the 2 percent increase did not sound like very much, but relief association representative Pat Shorter explained that it can help with recruiting.

“At 10 years, you get 60 percent (of the pension),” Shorter said. “I think it’s one of many (tools). We have to try to maintain what we have — we lose so many of them.”

Councilman Mike Kuhle suggested the city and the relief association meet to further discuss the recruitment tools used by the fire department. He said it’s a “pretty low cost” for what the city gets without having a full-time department.

In other action, the council:

* Approved the closure of City Hall on Nov. 29, which is the day after Thanksgiving.

* Approved the first reading of an ordinance regarding background checks for individuals applying for city licenses, such as liquor licenses, as well as those who apply for city employment.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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