St. Louis firefighters pension payout draws criticism

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Firemen's Retirement System Executive Director Vicky Grass attends a board meeting in St. Louis on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ St. Louis’ mayor says the cash payout of more than a half million dollars to a retired a firefighters pension director “sounds like legalized robbery” and reflects the need for pension reform.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 63-year-old Vicky Grass left her $117,000-a-year job in May with the Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis.

Her $579,210 payout included a one-time payment for severance and unused sick and vacation time, and an undisclosed amount from a deferred compensation plan. Her monthly pension will be $4,870.

Grass says she always says “I’m the luckiest broad I know.”

But the payout that Mayor Francis Slay criticizes comes at a time city leaders are asking voters to approve a $180 million bond issue for infrastructure improvements they say they can’t afford otherwise.