Kansas Senator fights to add Corrections Officers to KP&F retirement fund (WIBW)

A Leavenworth-area Senator is fighting to add Corrections Officers to the KP&F retirement fund.

Senator Jeff Pittman says he has introduced Senate Bill 135, which would open up the KP&F retirement fund to Department of Correction workers. He said currently, the plan is only offered to police and firefighter. The new plan has raised the date of entry to 15 years, he said, as opposed to 5, for KPERS, higher benefits and an earlier retirement age.

“The Department of Corrections was hit hard by the Brownback era. Workers were habitually tasked to work extreme overtime conditions on a skeletal staff, officers didn’t receive pay increases for years, and the state was forced to reduce the age limit for officers to 18 just to attract new hires for this challenging, low-pay work,” Pittman said. “Our state corrections officers perform a valuable function in the justice system. These are demanding jobs that put our employees at risk, put a strain on families, and require our workers to go as unsung heroes in a prison system that often operates at or above capacity.”

Pittman said KDOC workers have been a consistent priority for him. He said he was instrumental in the fight for an 18% pay raise for corrections officer and that he pushed to make sure that workers with COVID-related deaths would be characterized as in the line of duty. He also said he fought for PPE and for processes to isolate cases as much as possible in densely populated prisons, and he has commended Gov. Kelly’s administration on reducing the number of COVID cases in state prisons.

“We need to do more for our corrections workers. We need to continue to work with them short-term to keep them protected during this pandemic. And long term, his bill provides a more attractive retirement plan and will be an important tool for recruitment and retention,” said Pittman. “I have many corrections workers in my district, and they understand the value of having consistency of workforce when it comes to safety and security. They know that this is a better plan to achieve that. I commend the Joint Committee on Pensions for recommending this course of action in the interim. We have the bandwidth; we need to do this now.”

This originally appeared on the WIBW website, here.