Los Angeles Will Reform Controversial Pension Program

A controversial retirement program that paid some L.A. public safety workers double toward the end of their careers is headed for change following a series of investigative reports by the Los Angeles Times.

“The Deferred Retirement Option Plan pays city cops and firefighters their salaries and early pension payments for the last five years of their careers,” the Times notes. “Under the new measure — which will apply only to new participants and not those already in the program — pension checks will be withheld from those who miss significant time due to injury or illness in any given month. Those employees will still receive their full salary for the time off.”

The City Council approved the reforms on Tuesday following discussions between the mayor and the city’s public safety unions. The changes will take effect next month.

The Times previously reported that half of the program’s enrollees had taken extended injury leaves, meaning they were sometimes gone for up to a year collecting the payouts. Since 2001, L.A. has doled out $1.7 billion in lump sum payments as part of the plan.

L.A. is not the only city to have adopted a DROP program. San Diego and San Francisco did too. In both cities, the plan has since been abandoned.

Read more about L.A. City’s DROP program and the coming changes here