Bartholomew Council approves one benefit issue for deputies

Bartholomew County Council approved one request by the sheriff’s department merit board on pension benefits for merit deputies but is putting off decisions on two other requests until at least next month.

The council agreed last night to approve an option that allows deputies to take a lump sum payout when they retire. An option that supporters say is a useful recruiting tool and a benefit offered by many competing departments.

Decisions were delayed while getting more information on a proposal that would allow the sheriff or merit deputies to be vested in the department pension plan after eight years at work, or to continue with the current eight years and one month arrangement.

Council member and former sheriff Mark Gorbett said that after eight years, a deputy would be eligible to receive retirement pay of roughly 20 percent of their average of their five highest years of pay as a retirement benefit.

They also are looking for more details on a proposal that would increase the pay to family members of a deputy killed in the line of duty. Council members expressed interest in continuing support for children of a slain deputy through college.