Consolidation Our Way!
By ILFOPLC, Staff - Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Your voices have been heard regarding the proposed consolidation of downstate municipal police pension funds. The fight is far from over, but it appears that when FOP members speak out, lawmakers listen.
Thanks to your legislator outreach, letters to the editor and other ways of making your views known, state lawmakers are considering amendments to the legislation to consolidate pension funds that will address several of our major concerns. We have agreed in principle with these proposed amendments and will ensure they make it into the final language of the bill.
The revised legislation would give active and retired municipal police officers a majority of the board that controls the consolidated investments. It would create an investment board of police officers and mayors that is elected by active and retired officers – it would not be controlled by the state and therefore its funds could not be swept. Five board members would be elected by police officers and four members elected by the mayors. Local funds would also be kept in place to administer benefit determinations, pay benefits, and conduct disability proceedings.
The revised bill would also remove outdated and damaging restrictions on pension investments so that police officers could have their money invested for the best rate of investment returns and at a lower risk.
Perhaps most importantly, there are meaningful and badly needed corrections to the unfair and flawed Tier II benefits. We achieved an amendment that would bring Conservation, University, Capitol and Commerce Commission Police, as well as arson investigators, back into the alternative formula for Tier II. Additionally it would increase the total maximum salary for Tier II officers to match Social Security, improve survivor benefits for Tier II officers who die before earning 10 years, and improve the final average salary calculations for Tier II officers.
And for a significant, long-term change, we achieved legislation that would remove the ability for municipalities to use bogus actuarial assumptions to underfund their pensions.
As you can see, we have had numerous successful meetings and conversations that have produced some results, but we are far from done. We intend to continue to work with the Governor’s office and the General Assembly to make sure the final legislation works in accordance with our principles. We appreciate all the membership has done in working together to accomplish our mutual goals.