Shortly before adjourning its meeting June 16, the Town Council received a call from Winthrop Police Lieutenant Nancy Dalrymple regarding the body’s decision to deny her request for a retirement extension.
Lt. Dalrymple originally spoke before Council on May 19 to ask that her impending mandatory retirement be extended until 2023 when she will be 68. On June 2, Council voted against her petition, citing that they didn’t feel her retirement would harm the department.
The Council may have also been swayed by the on-air statements of Winthrop Police Sergeant Sarko Gergerian, who strongly opposed the lieutenant’s request and claimed that granting it would damage the department’s morale.
At the June 16 meeting, Lt. Dalrymple called to announce that she filed a request for reconsideration with the Council. When she asked why it hadn’t been discussed during the meeting, Council President Phil Boncore said it wouldn’t have the votes.
“I did not want to reconsider it because you lost seven to two,” he said. “What is the purpose of me making a motion to reconsider? I didn’t think you would have turned seven people.”
“You never know, Mr. Council President,” she responded.
“We are all replaceable, we all know that,” the lieutenant continued. “This is not about civil service or contracts.”
She also claimed the Town had a poor track record regarding women’s rights “over many, many years.”
“It is not too late to do the right thing,” she said.
The Winthrop Police Department (WPD) has a program that would allow Lt. Dalrymple to continue working after retirement as a special police officer, a role limited to twenty hours per week or $35,000 per year. It is unclear if the lieutenant plans to take advantage of this program. She did not respond to the Transcript’s numerous requests for comment.
Lt. Dalrymple’s request comes amid a national phenomenon of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) failing to retire on time. According to the Pew Research Center, boomers are staying in the workforce at rates not seen for people their age in over fifty years. In some cases, boomers who have already retired have made the conscious decision to reenter the labor force.
One reason is financial. According to Jack Kelly, senior contributor to Forbes Magazine, most boomers can’t afford to retire on social security or pensions alone. He writes that a distrust in the stock market following the Great Recession kept them from enjoying the returns of a decade-long bull market.
Another reason is psychological. Psychologist and author of The Retirement Maze: What You Should Know Before and After You Retire, Louis Primavera says retiring can initiate an identity crisis, especially for those who are emotionally invested in their careers.
Economists have studied the impact of late retiring on younger generations. USA Today and LinkedIn recently teamed up to conduct a survey of 1,019 employed professionals. Thirty percent of all respondents and 41 percent of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) reported difficulty advancing due to boomers not retiring.