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Sizable pension awaits officer who resigned after serious accident, DWI arrest
MANCHESTER — The Manchester police officer who resigned last week following his arrest on a drunken-driving charge will be able to collect a pension of nearly $36,850 a year, according to an estimate based on the New Hampshire Retirement System pension formula.
The rough calculation takes into account the 21 years of employment David Connare had with Manchester police as well as his recent wages.
“Pretty much, what people get is what the law allows them to get,” said Marty Karlon, spokesman for the Retirement System.
The president of the Manchester Patrolmans Association, Connare resigned his $70,400-a-year job after an Oct. 16 accident on Interstate 93. New Hampshire State Police charged him with misdemeanor DWI and felony reckless conduct.
About two weeks before the accident, the New Hampshire Union Leader quoted Connare defending the state Retirement System against critics. He will now likely turn to that Retirement System to keep a check coming in.
As of Monday, Connare had not applied for pension benefits, so the Retirement System doesn't know what they will be, Karlon said.
The New Hampshire Union Leader used the following factors to estimate an annual pension of $36,850.
Connare was hired as a police officer on Jan. 28, 1991. That gives him 21 full years with the department. After 20 years of service, police officers and firefighters receive 50 percent of their average salary. Every year after 20 adds another 2 1/2 percentage points to the percentage calculation.
A pension is based on the average salary of a police or firefighter's highest paid three years. Upon request, the Manchester Human Resources provided his last five years of salary.
The salary for 2012 was $75,512, which includes any unused sick, holiday and vacation included in his final paycheck, said Human Resources Director Jane Gile. Two other high-paid years were $67,58 in 2010 and $67,176 in 2009.
Karlon cautioned that the Retirement System does not use a calendar year to determine a work year.
It's uncertain whether Connare can collect immediately. Police retirees cannot collect until the age of 45, and state police did not release his age when they reported his accident.
Efforts to reach Connare on Tuesday were unsuccessful. In the past, he has vigorously defended police pensions. He has noted that police and firefighters do not participate in Social Security.
He has also said that hefty pensions reported in the past, such as the $133,634 annual pension of retired police Capt. Richard Valenti, don't reflect most pensions.
The average police pension amounts to about $32,000 a year, Karlon noted. “The end is high. These are typically people in leadership positions in the big cities who worked many years,” he said.
Reforms passed by the Legislature last year require new and newly hired workers to pay more into the Retirement System and work longer before they can collect.
They are also limited in their abilities to boost their annual earnings to improve salary calculations.
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Mark Hayward may be reached at email@example.com.
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