Skip to comments.Government-Forced Retirement at 57?
Posted on 04/22/2014 4:10:33 AM PDT by Kaslin
These words of Thomas Jefferson's are etched under the dome of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Imagine if Jefferson had finished that thought with these words: "Unless, of course, you're 57 years old and a U.S. federal law enforcement officer."
In the beginning of our republic, our Founding Fathers fought for freedom from governing tyranny, including for those who worked in government. And if a man's work ethic, health and passions allowed him to labor until his dying breath, he did so, even in government.
Today, however, with more government regulations than sand in the sea, those in Washington believe they are socialistic clairvoyants and use the nanny state to determine when citizens are expendable and ready to retire.
Case in point: federal law enforcement officers, who must retire at the end of the month they turn 57. I've known great military personnel and former local community officers, many of whom have been dear friends, who have also served our country as federal law enforcement officers -- for example, as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents. But when they hit 57 -- even if they were at a zenith of performance in mind, body and soul with many potential contributing years ahead -- they were forced to retire because of a law that is ridiculous and even hurting our country as a universal mandate, often removing from duty and service the best of the best among patriotic servants.
Here's the way one special provision in U.S. law reads:
"A member of the Capitol Police who is otherwise eligible for immediate retirement under section 8336(m) shall be separated from the service on the last day of the month in which such member becomes 57 years of age or completes 20 years of service if then over that age."
There are very few exceptions to this rule, including this one: "The President, by Executive order, may exempt an employee (other than a member of the Capitol Police or the Supreme Court Police) from automatic separation under this section when he determines the public interest so requires."
What a shock. More excuses for presidential overreach and executive orders!
Mandatory retirement is typically justified on the grounds that particular occupations either are too dangerous or require significant levels of physical and mental skill. But what about when officers easily meet those requirements?
I'm not espousing everyone's working until death or no one's retiring early. Some people live for retirement. Some people run for it. But should it be mandated for all -- especially by the government -- if one is genuinely full of vitality, stamina and health and is willing and able to use his veteran experience to serve our country and help others?
I'm certainly not saying we should place our country in any form of jeopardy by posting officers who have fallen prey to human nature and aging. I'm just questioning the notion that everyone at 57 has done so. Many would say we are placing our country in further harm's way by forcing these veterans into retirement.
Equally damaging are laws for these individuals that place maximum mandates on entry ages, such as this federal law for law enforcement officers and criminal investigators: "Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and less than 37 years of age at the time of appointment."
Imagine how this narrow 16-year age window must exclude highly qualified individuals, including many older applicants who could bring their veteran experience to a national level, such as former local and state officers.
And what about anti-age-discrimination laws already on the U.S. books? Even Wikipedia cites previous contradictory code, such as this from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website:
"The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA's protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training."
And this is the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations discussing the ADEA:
"The exception does not authorize an employer to require or permit involuntary retirement of an employee within the protected age group on account of age. ... An employer can no longer force retirement or otherwise discriminate on the basis of age against an individual because (s)he is 70 or older."
Isn't it time for the government to begin to pull away from restricting the liberties and wisdom of the best servants in our society? Or will we forever remain the land of the free and the home of the brave while restricting more and more liberties, even for the veterans among us?
Myriad government officials profess to fight against profiling, but who is guilty when Washington judges all 57-year-olds as too old to think, react and contribute to their country?
I urge my fellow citizens to write their representatives and seek to revoke overarching and universal mandates forcing retirement for each and every last federal law enforcement officer, from Capitol police to border agents. It's time we eliminate inequitable, discriminatory laws that are counterproductive and weakening our nation's law enforcement community and defense.
As former ICE Special Agent Tom Coburn, who was forced to retire at 57, wrote me, "as our nation attempts to stop terrorist attacks, strengthen our borders, and combat sophisticated medical and financial frauds, America needs to be able to hire the best applicants for the job regardless of their age."
And, Tom, I would add: America needs to be able to keep many great warriors like you around, too.
It's time for us all -- and particularly those in Washington -- to recall the conventional wisdom of Mark Twain, who once said: "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
Absolute abdication of the US Constitution for THEIR greed.
The government allows age discrimination in their employment practices that is illegal elsewhere. They will not hire you after age 36.
I am against retirement. Keep the people that know how to do things. Of course I am one of them.
The answer to this is testing. As long as the officers (for example) can pass the physical and mental tests they should be allowed to continue serving (if they so desire).
It’s insane to force out someone who is good at their job and in better shape than most younger people just because he’s 57 or older.
actually no one cares if LEOs are forced to retire..............
I'm not sure there was a heck of a lot of Federal law enforcement officers back in the day of the Founding Fathers.
Now, of course, we have a multitude of them, to the point of needlessly harrassing small Western ranchers who are not illegal aliens.
I have another idea:
Federal judges should be forced to retire at 57.
That is an excellent point.
Why not appoint a newborn as a federal judge with the stipulation that when they turn 57 they have to retire. /saecasm
Sometimes I think we should go the route they went in Georgia (The one near Russia). They sacked *all* the traffic cops, and crime went down significantly because the LEOs were the ones actually doing the crime.
Not so much. I retired from the Border Patrol after 25 years. Perhaps Chuck Norris could still still chase a 16 year old scraper illegal aliens through the desert after the age of 57 and still have the strength to take them down without getting killed but few can.
Its a young mans game and chases and fights occur daily.
The reality is that most all of the agents who reach 57 are have been in management for several years already. If after 20 or 25 years your body is not breaking down from the countless injuries you have suffered over the years then you probably were not working very hard.
Another reason this is a good policy is that its keeps management young and dynamic. Otherwise you get managers that would camp out in a comfy post for decades and not give anyone else a chance to lead.
Just like the US Senate.
Personally I think no one should be permitted to spend the majority of his life in government employ. And that means aggregate of ALL types of government including military,police,government schoolteacher,etc.Lifelong government employees are those who tend to have a huge sense of entitlement and a disconnect from the realities of productive wealth generating work. SOME government is necessary,just not as much as we have now.
Hubby is a retired firefighter...watershed expert. He ran the hot shot crew here for many years and then after was usually one of the first strike teams out. Bodily injuries? Hah! He retired after 33 years at the age of 53 because he noticed his crew was having to cover for him. Within 2 years he had neck surgery and his back and knees were so bad he can barely walk. Too many years running up and down hills.
Most people have no clue how demanding these types of jobs are.
That is one tough and noble job. I read a study some years from a major university that showed that for every year after 50 that a firefighter or LEO continue to work cuts their life expectancy dramatically in retirement.
My advice to young agents was to ride great, shoot strait and speak the truth. Have fun, maximize your annuity and get out on your own terms as soon as you can.
It is a young man’s job.
Ridiculous that this is considered the age to put people out to pasture. The retirement culture is truly oppressive.
What we have now is the flip side of that curve of knowledge.
We have federal judges hitting 57, and going on a downhill slide until they end up at 94 years old like senile old fool John Paul Stevens, suggesting like a newborn that we amend the Constitution to HIS liking, because, well, he's "reasonable"..