Merit Board Updated On Retirement Plans For Deputies

Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Merit Board heard an overview of retirement and benefit plans Wednesday.

Chief Deputy Shane  Bucher said KCSO tries to get Stan Brown, from McCready and Keene Inc., to come in at least once a year to give an overview of how the retirement and benefit plans are looking.

Brown said his company does actuarial and benefit consulting work on retirement and benefit plans. That means, each year, his company determines how much the county has to put into the plans in addition to the officers’ 3%.

While the market “has been very volatile this year,” the benefits and retirement plans are long-term plans. There are ups and downs in the market. He said KCSO’s plans are very well funded and in a good position.

Long-term, he said, there’s an expectation the plans will earn 6-1/2% each year. He said that doesn’t happen every year, while other years have exceeded expectations. The assumption was changed a year ago from 6-3/4%. At some point, Brown said the goal is to get the expectation for the plans to be lowered to 6-1/4%, but at this point, it is fine where it is.

Brown said they work a year ahead so that work can be used for recommendations for the 2023 budget for both plans.

Three calculations are calculated for the budget and the calculation that was recommanded was what was approved for the 2023 budget. The recommended contribution is $631,323 for the two plans combined, which is more than the minimum needed. Part of the calculations includes salaries and the cost of the next year’s worth of benefits.

In other business, the Board was updated on some issues going on in the area and in the department.

Det. Sgt. James Marshall said there was an organization out of South Bend that was coming into the Kosciusko County area and doing a lot of break-ins, auto thefts, “pretty much ravaging Kosciusko County, mostly in the Warsaw area, but also in the county as well.”

Between the efforts of the Warsaw Police Department, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office and some other agencies, a group of people were arrested last week. Marshall said debit and credit cards and cars were stolen.

“It’s amazing to me still how many people leave their cars unlocked and leave keys in the car and leave important documents and credit cards in their cars,” he said. He said he hoped everyone at the meeting locked their doors. He said even some law enforcement officers had their personal cars broken into.

“A lot of these folks are branching out of the bigger cities and the crime from it are coming here,” he said.

Bucher said KCSO is currently taking applications to fill a position as Chris Francis left KCSO to go to the Warsaw Police Department. Bucher said the department is taking applications for a few more weeks and he’s hoping to come to the Board with the potential hire at the October or November meeting.

Bucher also talked about what is going on in the jail.

The Kosciusko County Jail has 245 inmates. Three of the jailers are going through jail school, which is a 40-hour online class. The jail is in the process of hiring an additional jailer.