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Tampa’s ex-police chief still gets nearly $80,000-a-year pension

TAMPA — Former Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor’s resignation Monday does not affect her previously earned annual pension benefit of nearly $80,000.

O’Connor, 52, currently receives $5,923.16 monthly in base pension benefits, plus $710.78 in cost of living adjustments for a total monthly payout of $6,633.94, according to information provided by the Tampa Fire & Police Pension Fund.

Under the city’s contract with the police and fire departments, employees can retire at age 46 if they have worked 10 years, or they can retire anytime if they have accrued 20 years of service. O’Connor was an assistant chief when she retired in 2016 after 22 years with the department.

The amount of the pension benefit is based on the average of an employee’s three highest annual salaries in a 10-year period. It is calculated at a rate equal to 31.5% for the first 10 years of service and then 3.15% for each additional year worked.

O’Connor, however, entered the deferred retirement option program and her years of service were calculated at 20 years and one month. That allowed her pension to be calculated at a little over 63.25% of her final average salary. The benefit this year is $79,607.

O’Connor’s annual salary as chief was listed at $192,920 when Mayor Jane Castor picked her to lead the department earlier this year. She was not eligible for a second pension with the department, according to the Tampa Fire & Police Pension Fund.