Sheriff’s Office Pension Liability Shifted to State Budget

State Senator Susan Moran

HYANNIS – Legislation supported on both sides of the aisle was recently signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker that transfers the responsibility of the Barnstable County budget to fund the pensions of retirees from the County Sheriff’s Office to the state budget.

Though the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office has been a state-controlled agency since 2010, the regional government has been footing the bill for employee pensions for eleven years.

Plymouth and Barnstable State Senator Susan Moran and State Representative Sarah Peake, supporters of the bill, said that the savings created by the change will be diverted to the ongoing economic and public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It finally allows Barnstable County to join every other county in the Commonwealth in being relieved of the burden of the un-funded pension liability of the sheriff’s department,” said Peake. 

“Part of what happened over at the Senate was an agreement with the county that this over a million dollars in savings be put towards the COVID-19 response.”

Peake said in a statement that the unfunded sheriff’s pension liabilities totaled $1.6 million in the most recent revision of the FY2021 Barnstable County Budget, or 8 percent of the $20.1 million budget.

“It’s really going to mean the freeing up of resources for the county that then can be dug into for things the Cape needs, like clean water, and just helping with economic revival coming out of COVID,” said Moran. 

The county said that the savings will go towards expanding COVID-19 testing, assist with the vaccine distribution effort, and provide economic relief to those hit hardest by the pandemic.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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