Mayor Burnham’s Retirement Plans Stir Up Holyoke

by Laurel | January 13th, 2014

13 January 1929

Holyoke Mayor Fred G. Burnham

Holyoke Mayor Fred G. Burnham

“Deadline” of 65 Years for Firemen and Policemen Arouses Interest

Fresh interest in the workings of he municipal machinery are likely to be aroused by pronouncements of the past week looking to a following, on the part of the fire and police departments of the mayor’s recommendations in his inaugural address of the establishment of a “deadline” in age in the rosters of these two departments. The mayor might have gone further in his recommendations and advocated such a revision of the city charter as would permit the establishment of a department of public safety to include the fire department, police department and board of health in one. This would hardly be pleasing to the politicians and perhaps it is too soon for the Holyoke public to approve of it. At any rate the mayor recommended the combination to two minor departments and that is likely to meet with little, if any opposition.

Age Limit Approved

As to the age limit being set at 65 years, there can be little objection if the age limit is to be set at all. Perhaps a minimum of 25 years service in the police department should be set instead of 20 years as at present. That would mean that a young fellow entering at the age of 25 years would serve 40 years before reaching the retirement age, when he would be pensioned at half pay as at present or, as Dr. Osley is said to have suggested, be chloroformed.  Much work of real value is being done nowadays by men over 79, but patrolling a beat and putting out fires are not believed to be included. The most valuable official in the police department today would hardly be able to patrol a beat at all. Any plan that includes in its provisions the termination of the services of the present assistant marshal will be resented by every intelligent person in the City of Holyoke.

The fact is, that speaking from a standpoint of civic justice the need of pensions would be more evident in the community as a whole than with either the foremen of policemen were insurance against death or accident as is easily secured. The increased pressure of industrial life by the invention of labor saving machinery, or even by the introduction of more efficient methods dispensing with employees and speeding up of the work, is a common operation. In such cases the older men have got to go — and without pensions, generally, and without any place to go.

As a speaker here pointed out recently, for the man over 45 the doors to so many chances of employment are closed that, willing and able to work as he may be, he cannot find work. It is an indictment against our civilization that the man or woman able and willing to work should find difficulty in obtaining work anywhere anytime, according to some authorities.

From The Springfield Republican.
Image from Retirement Income Journal.

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