City councilmember proposing age limit for retirement for Laredo police

LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) – Police and other city staff are reacting after a proposal to start a mandatory retirement, by age or years in service, for city police officers.

A couple hours ago, council member Charlie San Miguel brought up his idea, he says it will save money and help reduce liabilities.

The idea is met by resistance from two city unions.

At Monday’s finance committee meeting, council member charlie San Miguel presented his idea to start a mandatory retirement age.

“It is a combination of our budget and ‘fit for duty'”, said San Miguel.

‘Fit for duty’ is a criteria for fire and police officers, to still be physically able towork.

San Miguel says the proposal helps bring down costs and reduce liabilities.

“Are not at a risk of being a harm to themselves or whoever they’re workingwith”, said San Miguel.

Laredo Police Officers Association President Ramiro Paredes spoke against the proposal.

He says the ‘fit for duty’ policy is already in place.

“If the chief feels that the person can no longer preform his duties then that’ll be the next step to consider his employment”, said Ramiro Paredes.

The police officers association represents 366 police department employees.

“The police department is just being singled out”, said Paredes.

Laredo Fire Fighters Union president David Gonzalez says his association is also opposed.

“It starts with the police officers now but anytime anyone wants to say anything about another city employee, they’ll bring this up”, said Gonzalez.

San Miguel says he wants to hear from all sides before refining the idea.

“Great discussion, which is where I was hoping this would go”, said San Miguel.

He reassures the unions, before changes are made, the city meet the unions at the negotiating table.

At the end of the discussion, council member George Altgelt moved to include fire staff, as well as police staff in the proposal for mandatory retirement.

In next year’s proposed budget the combined salaries of police and fire make up 63 percent of the general fund budget.

The police union did say it’s only fair for them if this comes up in contract negotiations.

San Miguel says that process will be followed by any changes that are made.