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Senate committee holds off on prison guard pension bill

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s correctional officers are seeking equal treatment with other members of law enforcement when it comes time for them to retire.

State troopers and other cops can retire after 20 years of service and collect a pension, but they have to pay in more to the fund while they’re working. Correctional officers currently have to wait 25 years.

A new bill would add correctional officers, fire marshals and others deemed “peace officers” by state law.

But Joint Finance Committee co-chair Sen. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington North) says it can’t be considered until after the budget writing process in June.

Geoff Klopp, who heads the correctional officers union, says he’s beyond disappointed.

“I was hoping to get some positive action in the right direction, but once again, we’re sidetracked by more bureaucratic red tape,” Klopp said.

Klopp described a meeting between union members and Carney Wednesday night as productive, adding he’s cautiously optimistic he’ll be able to get better pay and working conditions for guards.

The pension reform measure is just one of several being floated to help correction officers secure higher pay, more training and better working conditions.

Work on finalizing the budget begins in May.

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