Did you know that volunteer fireman once they reach 60 years old receive over $600.00 a month retirement check thru the city of Salisbury………..
The above is from the comment section on Albero’s recent post concerning the new fire station in Salisbury. Obviously the commenter is just as clueless as Albero. There is a volunteer “retirement” plan but the $600 figure is a little overstated.
The City of Salisbury funds the plan. It is not unreasonable for the City to do this, as Volunteers are just that --- Volunteers. This program, known as LOSAP, came into fruition in the late 1980’s and was designed to be a tool for retention and recruitment for the volunteer force of the fire department.
LOSAP = Length of Service Awards Program. It basically works like this. In order to be vested in the program the individual must volunteer for at least 5 years. Once vested the member will receive $20 a month for each year served, with a 25 year maximum. The math is easy. A member serving 10 years will receive $200.00 a month for their service. Serve 15 years, $300.00 a month. Once again this maxes out at 25 years for a maximum amount of $500.00 a month.
However there are a few “buts” to consider. First there is criteria that must be met on an annual basis. The member must attend a certain amount of training, must attend a certain percentage of corporate meetings, must maintain a percentage for alarm response etc, etc, etc.
The member’s performance in all these areas is reviewed annually. Members not making the grade are excluded from the plan for that year. In other words, it is not possible to sign up as a volunteer, do nothing for 25 years, and pull a retirement check from the city.
Another point to consider is a member cannot collect any of these funds until he/she reaches age 60. Therefore a member joining at age 20, making good each year on his/her obligation can “retire” at age 45. However the member still must wait another 15 years before drawing the pension. It is doubtful a member would cease to be a member at age 45. Anyone committing 25 years to the volunteer service would indeed be passionate enough about the obligation to continue to serve, and many do. It is very possible members would retire with much more than 25 years service and still only be eligible for the maximum allowed. My sources inform me there are currently only 3 members receiving the maximum benefit. This is a small price to pay for the savings these men and women have afforded the City for so many years of service for free.
I also understand, but as of yet have not verified, that othe local governments in the area also provide a similar plan for their volunteers.