Retirement program for Metro officers headed toward bankruptcy

Metro police generic
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A supplemental retirement program used by hundreds of Metro Nashville Police officers is headed for bankruptcy.

In an email to members, the Police Benefit Association (PBA) of Nashville said it’s going through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The PBA is an independent group that offers the plan to Metro officers.

Those who elect to join and contribute to the PBA pay $2.50 of every paycheck toward the organization. The money is deducted automatically from the officers’ twice-monthly checks.

The plan is in addition to any retirement and savings plans offered to officers.

Then, after retirement, eligible members were supposed to get a check for as much as $8,000. Over the years, many did get their checks.

But those familiar with the program say the structure was never sustainable. Most members might contribute $1,500 over a career in law enforcement. And without successful fundraising, the money runs out.

Attorney Maria Salas was retained by the PBA for the bankruptcy, which is expected to be filed soon.

Salas said she’s in the process of acquiring members’ addresses so the US Bankruptcy Court can send out the proper notices.

While not all Metro police officers are PBA members, several hundred are currently contributing to the fund.

The email to members said the city’s payroll department has been notified to stop all PBA deductions from their paychecks.

The organization has an estimated $10,000 in its accounts. While members are not likely to get their share of the money they contributed back, there could be a distribution of the assets, however insignificant it may be.

Danny Hale, president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, said the bankruptcy is not all that surprising. He added that many contributing members had their doubts about ever seeing that retirement check.

“This is one of those things that, every now and then, you’re going to pay a stupid tax,” said Hale. “And I’m going to pay some.”

Hale, a 30-year veteran of the Metro Nashville Police Department, said the money would have been nice. But even though he knew it was a long shot, he and hundreds of others kept contributing the $2.50 each paycheck.

“There are people that have been retired for, oh my gosh, three,four, five, I’m not sure how many years. And they haven’t seen their money. So the thought that I haven’t retired yet, oh there’s no way.”

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