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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Modifications to the Fire and Police Pension Plan
City of Los Angeles
213,324 / 62.5% Yes votes ...... 128105 / 37.5% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Impartial Analysis | Arguments ||
Shall the Charter be amended to authorize the adoption of ordinances to: (1) allow retired police officers and firefighters to return to active duty by terminating their pensions and being rehired, (2) allow the maximum amount of health subsidies for retirees and beneficiaries of the Plan to be set by ordinance, and (3) allow the City to pay part of employee contributions to the Plan as agreed in labor negotiations?
Retirement plans. Los Angeles firefighters and police officers are covered by the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System. Current benefit provisions are contained in Tier 5, the plan that is offered to newly hired firefighters and police officers.
When changes are made to benefits or responsibilities in the Pension System, a new Tier (Plan) is usually created. All officers hired thereafter become members of the new Plan. With a few exceptions, officers hired before the change continue to be covered by the plan in effect when they joined the force. For example, Tier 5 was adopted in 2001; police and firefighters hired since then are members of this Plan, while most officers hired before December 1980 continue to be covered by Tier 2.
One of the differences between Tier 2 and the more recent tiers (3, 4, and 5) is that the earlier plan, Tier 2, allows rehiring of retired officers under specified conditions, while the newer plans forbid it.
Subsidies and Partial payment of employee contributions. The City pays health subsidies to retired police officers and firefighters, to retired civilian employees, and to active police and firefighters. The amount of the health subsidies paid to retired Plan members is linked to that of active police and firefighters.
The City Charter specifies how much police officers and firefighters must contribute to the Pension System (8%, or sometimes 9% of their salary). The City has been paying a part of the employee contributions (about 1%, sometimes 2%). The amount is set through labor-management agreements.
1. The City Council would be authorized to pass an ordinance permitting retired members of Tiers 3, 4, and 5 to return to active duty. Some conditions and limitations would apply.
a) The retirees pension would stop when he or she returns to active duty.
b) To qualify, the officers would have to be below the age of 55, below the rank of Lieutenant (police) or Captain (Firefighter), and have been retired for three years or less.
c) The rehired Plan member would return to active duty as a member of the plan from which he or she retired.
d) Retirees who had participated in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan would be ineligible.
2. The council would be authorized to amend Tier 5 by ordinance to set maximum health subsidies for beneficiaries. It could also authorize the Pension Board to increase or decrease subsidy payments. The link to subsidies for active members would be removed.
3. The council would be allowed to authorize the City's payment of a portion of employee contributions to Tiers 3, 4, and 5. The amount would be negotiated, with a ceiling of 2% of salary. This payment would not be considered as salary in computing Final Average Salary or for other purposes.
A Council ordinance to implement this provision would have to pass with a 2/3 vote (10 or more votes in favor). The Council would have to be advised in writing of the cost of the proposed payments.
Any fiscal impact resulting from approval of this Charter Amendment would depend upon the implementing ordinances.
Arguments In Favor:
1. The City would be able to fill vacancies with experienced people who have already been trained.
2. The emphasis would be on rehiring officers from the ranks instead of desk-bound managers.
No official arguments in opposition were submitted.
The amendment would make three changes to the Fire and Police Pension System.
First, this measure would allow the City Council to let retired police officers and firefighters return to active duty with the approval of the Police Chief or Fire Chief. This is currently not allowed by the Fire and Police Pension System for employees hired after December 8, 1980. It is currently allowed for employees who were hired before that date but have retired, It would provide the opportunity to bring employees back with specialized expertise and to fill staffing needs until new employees are hired. To qualify, officers must be below the rank of Lieutenant and firefighters must be below the rank of Captain. They must also be under 55 years of age and retired for less than three years. Any employee who chooses to return to duty would stop receiving his or her pension and earn a regular salary, When the employee retires again, their pension would start again.
Second, this measure would remove the connection in the health subsidy for the Fire and Police Pension System to those for active police officers and firefighters. The City Charter allows the Council to provide a health subsidy to retired police officers and firefighters. but the subsidy is capped at the level of either active police officers and firefighters or retired civilians. Whet this means is that retired police officers and firefighters must wai1 for health subsidies to be agreed to for active police officers and firefighters before receiving any increase in subsidy. They must payout of pocket for the increases until those agreements are reached. The health subsidy for civilian retirees is not capped and retired civilian employees do not have to payout of pocket for the increased premiums. The City Council could also allow the Fire and Police Pension System governing board to set the subsidy level within certain limits to make it consistent with the civilian retirement system board.
Third, this measure would allow the City Council to make changes in the way employee contributions to the Fire and Police Pension System can be calculated. The City Charter currently specifies how much police officers and firefighters must pay toward their pension. Members of the Fire and Police Pension System must pay a minimum of 8 percent of their salary towards their pension, and may have to pay as much as 9 percent of their salary under certain circumstances. All civilian employees pay no more than 7 percent of their salary towards their pension. This measure would allow the City to pay up to 2 of the 8 or 9 percent contributed by firefighters and police officers to the pension plan to make the Fire and Police Pension System more consistent with the civilian retirement system.
|Arguments For Measure LosAngelesCharterAmendment---2|
YES ON CHARTER AMENDMENT 2 WILL HELP THE CITY PUT MORE
POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS ON OUR STREETS.
The Charter Amendment will permit the Police and Fire Departments to reactivate retired police officers and firefighters from within lower sworn levels in the LAPD and LAFD.
The City's fiscal situation has not permitted hiring sufficient permanent employees, leaving vacancies among field positions of these Departments. This amendment will allow the Departments to fill vacancies with experienced personnel who are recently retired from active duty, Public safety will benefit from highly qualified veteran experience.
The "return to active duty" provision is currently allowed for LAPD police officers and LAFD firefighters hired before 1960, and Is used at the discretion of the Police Chief and the Fire Chief. Voting YES on 2 will apply the provision to those hired after 1980, and expand the City's ability to reactivate affected retirees to improve service, and increase the ranks of firefighters and police officers in the field. Many qualified retirees of the Police and Fire Departments wish to return to active duty, but are prohibited by their Retirement Plan. This amendment will standardize the return to active duty provision for all affected personnel.
Maintaining fiscal responsibility and cost neutrality remains a priority under the proposed Charter Amendment. This measure requires ~hat pension benefits for reactivated members will be suspended. Benefits for police officers and firefighters who retire from reactivated duty will resume under the same terms as their original retirement plan.
Charter Amendment 2 will allow the City Council to take these actions by Ordinance and remove this hurdle to placing more police officers and firefighters into service on our streets.
Please join community leaders throughout the City of Los Angeles and VOTE: YES ON CHARTER AMENDMENT 2
BERNARD C. PARKS
DENNIS P. ZINE
EDWARD M. HAHN
JOHN W. MACK
ALAN J. SKOBIN
STEVEN A. SOTO
LEE H. WALLACH
(No arguments against Measure LosAngelesCharterAmendment---2 were submitted)