EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

May 2, 2014

Editorial: Martin's retirement payday shows need for reform

When most of us make the transition from working to retirement, the hardest part is learning to get by with less money. Saving for retirement is difficult and many find they haven’t put nearly enough away to maintain the lifestyle of their working years.

But spare no worry for Kenneth Martin, longtime director of the Methuen Housing Authority, who plans to retire in the coming weeks. Martin has himself set up well. He will collect nearly $150,000 a year for the rest of his life, placing him in the ranks of the state’s top pension earners.

Martin’s retirement pay amounts to a barely noticeable dip from the $185,000 he earns as the director of the Methuen Housing Authority and his work as the part-time director of the Ayer Housing Authority. If Martin, 62, lives another 20 years, he can expect to collect nearly $3 million.

Martin may not take the full pension amount for which he is eligible. He may opt for a plan that pays him a lower amount -- around $131,000 annually -- but provides two-thirds of that figure after his death to a beneficiary for the rest of that person’s life.

However Martin opts to receive his pension, it’s clear he, and possibly a beneficiary as well, are set for life.

Stuck for life are the taxpayers who will be footing the bill for Martin’s extravagant retirement payout and the many, many others like his.

Martin likes to think he is owed this end of career payout because of his years of hard work.

“I have been healthy enough and fortunate to have been able to work 55 to 60-plus hours per week at two jobs for over 30 years,” Martin told reporter Douglas Moser. “The results of my efforts will allow me to obtain a good pension and I’m very grateful for that.”

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