- Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) law enforcement officers face danger every time they are called out. According to Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York), Tuesday night’s unanimous Senate approval of House Bill 615
moves the Commonwealth a step closer to truly respecting that fact.
“Following the Senate vote, I spoke with a game warden who said there was talk of an improved retirement benefit when he started with the PGC nearly 25 years ago,” said Gillespie, who authored the bill as majority chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee. “His contemporaries wondered if it would ever get done. I’m glad we’re a signature away from that becoming a reality.”
Gillespie’s legislation would bring game wardens’ retirement benefits in line with their counterparts in other agencies, thus leveling the playing field in recruitment of officers.
“In this decade, the PGC has seen more than 20% of its last three cadet classes leave the game warden ranks for other law enforcement employment opportunities,” Gillespie added. “These departures occurred after nearly $2 million was spent to train and prepare them for service, and the reason for them clearly is comparatively better retirement options.”
Under House Bill 615, PGC officers and any other commissioned law enforcement personnel under its employment would be allowed to qualify for the age 50 (normal retirement age) or 20 years of service (early retirement/alternative benefit) provisions under the State Employees Retirement System, something other officers receive.
“The concern shown by some members that we would be adding to our state pension systems’ unfunded liability was addressed when the PGC agreed to pay any accrued liability out of its own pocket,” added Gillespie.
House Bill 615 needs only Gov. Tom Wolf's signature to become law.
Representative Keith Gillespie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little