NEW YORK FIREMEN’S PENSION SYSTEM.
The opposition of the uniformed firemen to any change in their pension system is only natural. Firemen are eligible for retirement on pension after twenty years of service, regardless of age, and they are subject to no assessment whatever for their pension fund. Their only expense of such a nature is the payment of an insurance premium averaging $18 a year, which entitles those dependent on each fireman to a sum of $1,000 in case of his death, this being in addition to participation in the relief fund. To raise the period of service required before retirement to twentyfive years, as suggested by Commissioner Adamson, and to impose an assessment to provide for the maintenance of the pension fund would render the position of firemen somewhat less desirable. But, on the other hand, Mr. Adamson states that the short term of required service results in the loss to the fire department by retirement of many men just at the most useful age, 45; and the city budget shows that the taxayers will have to contribute $149,000 to the firemen’s pension fund directly this year in addition to the great amount that they contribute indirectly, with the prospect that this direct contribution must become annually larger. Originally the term of service required for policemen and firemen was the same, twenty years, but in 1898 the service period for members of the police force was raised to twenty-five years, with the added limitation that no policeman under 55 years of age might be pensioned except for physical disability. The only question at issue is whether or not the hazard of the fireman’s life is sufficiently greater to justify the easier terms for him. Chief Kenlon says that the departmental surgeons inform him that few firemen pass twenty years in the service without showing physical disabilities, but the police surgeons would probably make a similar report regarding policemen.—New York “Sun.”