Letter to the Editor: Thinking outside the box

Defined benefit pension plans have been a growing problem for many Michigan communities for decades with millions of dollars in unfunded liabilities.
Attracting and retaining qualified ALS/firefighting personnel is also a growing issue for most communities. And Independence Township has not been immune from these big problems.
Because of Paul Brown’s unique ability to think out of the box, the Fire Union has agreed to a contract that provides new firefighters a robust defined contribution (401k style) plan instead a defined benefit (traditional pension) plan.
Before I retired in September 2021, Mr. Brown offered up the idea to attract qualified personnel to the Independence Fire Department with an aggressive retirement savings plan for new hires that included a guaranteed township contribution with an additional matching option.
While the funding of the old plan continues to be a significant draw on Fire Department funding, with this new retiree provision, the township will be now able to see the light at the end of the tunnel where our liabilities will eventually be fully funded.
Congratulations to the IAFF for ratifying the new contract.
Pat Kittle
Independence Township

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