Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO presented its views on S. 84. The bill would liberalize the retirement benefits for employees who have served as Federal law enforcement officers or firefighters for at least 5 years, but less than the 20 years of qualifying service necessary for retirement under the special provisions pertaining to such personnel. Under the civil service retirement system, there are special provisions applicable to Federal employees whose primary duties involve: (1) investigating, apprehending, or detaining persons suspected or convicted of Federal crimes; and (2) controlling and extinguishing fires or maintaining and using firefighting apparatus and equipment. These employees may voluntarily retire at age 50 after completing 20 years of such service. GAO believes that the bill is inconsistent with the legislative purpose of inducing earlier retirement of Federal law enforcement and firefighter personnel after 20 years, since it would provide the special benefits only as a reward for previous performance of that particular type of Federal service. Since the bill would not contribute to a younger, more vigorous law enforcement or firefighter workforce, it would not result in improvements in the quality of those services. Therefore, GAO recommends that S. 84 not be enacted.
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