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Sheriff’s office says county underfunded its retirement

June 26, 2019

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Utah County has underfunded the retirement system for its sheriff’s office for more than 20 years, officials said.

The county government had not made contributions to the Utah Retirement Systems for the scheduled hours that sheriff’s office personnel worked above the 80 hours for two-week pay periods, the Daily Herald reported Wednesday.

The county was only paying the system for 80 hours each period, the sheriff’s office said. Retired officers are paid based on a percentage averaged from three years of their highest salary.

The error did not affect deputies’ pay before retirement, the sheriff’s office said.

“What I think is disconcerting to so many of us is that they’ve been aware of it,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office. “It’s not like it is a new issue.”

An attorney for the Utah County Commission did not immediately respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

The sheriff’s office and the Utah County attorney’s office said they don’t know how much the retirement system is missing and how much is owed to employees.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to do what’s right,” Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said. “No one should be left out of their retirement.”

The county contributions have since been corrected to reflect the actual hours that are scheduled, the sheriff’s office said.

“If there is something in the rules that say you are supposed to do a certain thing, you need to do it,” Cannon said. “If you don’t, there should be a price to pay. Someone should be held to account for that.”

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Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldextra.com

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