BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Louisiana’s state police superintendent says he won’t take a hefty retirement boost tacked onto an unrelated bill in the final hours of the legislative session.
Col. Mike Edmonson said Friday the issue had become a distraction and he’ll ask lawmakers to look at the issue again next year. The pension hike sparked controversy because it was passed with no public debate and with the sponsor of the bill saying he didn’t realize the implications of the last-minute add-on.
The state police retirement system had decided to investigate the retirement law change, to determine whether it was properly handled. The provision affects Edmonson and a 32-year trooper who works in Houma. Edmonson said he didn’t personally ask for the pension change, but gave his staff permission to seek it for him.
State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says he will not take the controversial pay raise that was approved by the legislature.
Quotes from him below
“There’s been too much distraction on what ought to be most important and that’s my men and women who carry the State Police badge and are doing remarkable work across Louisiana. The spotlight should be on them and not me. Because of the that, regardless of what comes back from the review by the attorneys for the retirement committee, I’m going to follow my heart and not accept it.”
“We will let the legislature review it next session based on any proper protocol. They can make a determination whether they want to do anything with it or not. I have notified the legislature, and will notify my state police retirement committee on Monday. I have also advised Governor Jindal’s administration of my decision. “
“There was too much misinformation out there. I have 34 years as a state trooper and I’ve always followed my heart and I’m following my heart now.”
Below are quotes from Treasurer Kennedy related to Col. Mike Edmonson’s announcement.
“I think under the circumstances it was the right decision, but this has never been about personalities. As a member of the board of trustees who is charged with implementing laws…I still do not know how many people are impacted by this.”
“I appreciate what happened today, but it’s about a law on the books that we have to get to the bottom of. The inquiry has to move forward.”
“The money is supposed to come from the pool of money we set aside for our retired troopers and their loved ones under our supervisions. It seems to me that the board has to go forward. From the reports I’ve seen there is one other person who will receive benefits. Whether or not that is accurate I do not know. We have to take money away from other retirees to give them the benefits.
“This is a bill that has passed through legislature. The governor’s executive council approved it. I would like his council to come talk to us about this. We’re dealing with the law. We do not know how many people it impacts.”
“There could be a special meeting called, but one has not been called at this time.
“When I asked for the investigation and the board agreed to do it, there was discussion of having the hearing and the results in the September meeting. I didn’t want to wait that long. Our council says it will take a couple weeks, so I’m thinking the first part of August. I’m hoping to have a public meeting and we’ll accept the results of the investigation and any legislators and anybody impacted by the bill can come give their side of the story and provide the transparency that should have happened in the first place.”