Beginning the next election cycle, sheriffs elected in Missouri will have fewer options for retirement.

Two bills signed by Gov. Mike Parson will require all future sheriffs to only use the Sheriff’s Retirement System, and they won’t be vested until they’ve served two four-year terms in office. Some sheriffs in heavier populated counties are also enrolled in LAGERS, the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System, while deputies can be enrolled in both LAGERS and the Missouri County Employee Retirement System, or CERF. Dave Marshak is sheriff of Jefferson County, south of St. Louis.

“You will no longer be eligible to participate in either one of those,” Marshak told Missourinet. “And by doing so, being elected as Sheriff, you’re taking a risk and a hit for eight years of accumulating a pension while you’re getting vested into the Sheriff’s Retirement System, which will take you two full complete terms to be vested.”

Marshak fears the changes will discourage some qualified candidates from running for sheriff.

“Jefferson County has a large…population of almost 230,000 — we have our own unique challenges,” he said. “We need competent leadership to be in these positions. It’s not an indictment on some of the rural counties, but our challenges here in the St. Louis region are complex. We want the most qualified people in these leadership positions, and to make that happen we need to make sure that compensation package is there.”

He did say there are some good things in Senate Bills 20 and 75. The Sheriff’s Retirement System will now be allowed to accept third-party gifts, sheriffs will be required to contribute at least 5% of their salaries, and Gov. Parson added $2.5 million to the pension fund. But Marshak hopes lawmakers can restore those lost pension options or find other solutions during next year’s legislative session.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.