County Pensions Come in Different Packages

MACo’s Annual Survey of county employee pensions reveals the variety of ways that county employers provide benefits to their civilian and public safety employees, including participation in the State’s Pension Systems.

Maryland’s county governments continue to provide a high level of benefits – both in health insurance, and in retirement options – to their employees. This year’s annual pension benefit survey reveals the many ways that counties provide these increasingly rare forms of compensation to some civilian and public safety county employees.

Some counties provide pension through county-sponsored plans, while other counties participate in the State’s pension system, providing employer contributions to the State to cover their employees. Some do both – with locally-sponsored plans for a certain set of employees, and State-sponsored benefits for another group of employees.

The following jurisdictions provide their own pension programs:

  • Anne Arundel County
  • Baltimore City
  • Baltimore County
  • Calvert County
  • Caroline County
  • Carroll County
  • Cecil County
  • Charles County
  • Frederick County
  • Garrett County
  • Harford County
  • Howard County
  • Montgomery County
  • Prince George’s County
  • Maryland National Capital Parks & Planning Commission
  • St. Mary’s County
  • Washington County
  • Wicomico County
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County pension benefits may come in different boxes, but all seek to protect and provide for those in government service.

The following counties participate in one or more of the Maryland State Pension System plans:

  • Allegany County
  • Cecil County
  • Dorchester County
  • Harford County
  • Kent County
  • Prince George’s County
  • Queen Anne’s County
  • St. Mary’s County
  • Somerset County
  • Talbot County
  • County pensions are one element of county budgets Worcester County

In addition to a description of the pension programs offered by some counties, this year’s survey features a breakdown of the three main State-sponsored pension systems in which several counties participate – the Employees’ Pension System, the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (LEOPS) and the Correctional Officers’ Retirement System (CORS).

County pensions are one element of the total compensation package for county employees, which also includes salary and health benefits. MACo’s annual salary and health benefits surveys are forthcoming.

The pensions survey describes the formulas counties use to calculate pension benefits, cost-of-living increases that are provided to pensioners, and retirement ages, among other details. For more information, see MACo’s fiscal year 2019 Pension Benefits Survey.

County governments provide pensions to their employees through annual budget commitments. Pension programs also create ongoing liabilities that must be accounted for and reported to credit agencies.

MACo’s Winter Conference will feature several sessions on budget outlooks and best practices in county budgeting, including:

  • Local Government Budgeting (for newly elected officials), Wednesday, January 2, 2019; 11:15 am – Noon
  • 2019 Economic Forecast with Anirban Basu, Thursday, January 3, 2019; 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  • MACo Book Club & Author Interview: City on the Line: How Baltimore Transformed Its Budget to Beat the Great Recession and Deliver Outcomes, Thursday, January 3, 2019; 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm
  • Dollars & Sense: Building a Capital Budget, Thursday, January 3, 2019; 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

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