Struck, who was a Minnesota Department of Transportation employee, died in a March 22 accident while operating a backhoe. He was swept into a stream while doing flood-mitigation work at Seven Mile Creek County Park between St. Peter and Mankato.
The actuarial calculation in state law means that Struck’s widow will get $191 a month, according to Minnesota State Retirement System Executive Director Dave Bergstrom.
Struck, 39, of Cleveland, had worked for the state for about eight-and-a-half years. In addition to years of service, the actuarial process is based on the deceased age from age 65.
Policy issues in response to the tragedy could include considering a minimum death benefit for workers similar to Struck. By contrast, the widow of a state patrol officer who is killed in the line of duty receives 50 percent of final salary.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, who has worked on pension legislation in the past, said lawmakers should take into consideration the fact that Struck was doing flood-related work.
“When a state employee is killed in the line of duty responding to an emergency, those are special circumstances that should be considered when determining if his widow and kids deserve a larger benefit,” Thissen said.
Gov. Mark Dayton attended Struck’s funeral at the Church of St. Peter.
Update (April 1): Dayton has issued a press release calling for legislation that would increase the pension for the Struck family that’s commensurate with that of a state patrol officer killed in the line of duty. That would increase the benefit to nearly $2,000 a month. Dayton said the bill will be introduced with bipartisan support.