Staff recommends the Commission adopt the resolution in support of HB 365 and SB 910 as requested by the Florida League of Cities.
As the City Commission is well aware, Florida law (specifically, Chapters 175 & 185, State Statutes) governs the pension benefits that are provided to Police Officers and Firefighters, which is not the case for other City employees. Prior to the “Great Recession,” the State Legislature, with support from police and firefighter unions, imposed a number of mandates on statutory Police Officer and Firefighter pension plans, the effect of which has been to drive up pension costs at a time when shrinking revenues make it increasingly difficult for Leesburg and other cities to absorb these increases within their budgets.
The Florida League of Cities has adopted as one of its top legislative priorities for the 2012 Legislative Session reform of municipal Police Officer and Firefighter Pension Plans and Disability Presumptions.
FLC is requesting Florida cities to let their state legislators know that their city supports HB 365 and SB 910 (sponsored by Senator Alan Hays). The intent of this legislation is help cities ensure that their Police Officer and Firefighter pension plans are sustainable, sound and secure for current and future Police Officers and Firefighters. Because the 2012 Legislative Session begins January 10, the League is asking cities to adopt resolutions supporting HB 365 and SB 910 immediately, and distribute these resolutions along with letters of support to their local state legislators as soon as possible.
Copies of HB 365 and SB 910 have been provided for the City Commission to review and consider.
1. Adopt the attached Resolution, as submitted.
2. Such alternative action as the Commission may deem appropriate.
The City of Leesburg’s contribution to the Firefighters’ Chapter 175 Pension Plan for the 2011-12 plan year will amount to $827,525.00. The City’s contribution to the Police Officers’ Chapter 185 Pension Plan for the same time period will amount to $297,431.00. Limiting the future fiscal impact on the City’s budget associated with funding both plans has been an on-going priority that the City Administration has discussed with the City Commission during the budget planning process for the current and previous fiscal year.
Prepared by: ______________________
Attachments: Yes____ No ______
Advertised: ____Not Required ______
Attorney Review : Yes___ No ____
Reviewed by: Dept. Head ________
Finance Dept. _______JB_________
Deputy C.M. ___________________
City Manager ___________________
Account No. _001-2220-522-2211_
Project No. ___________________
WF No. ______________________
Budget __$827,525 & $297,431__
Available __$827,525 & $297,431___
RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA, SUPPORTING LEGISLATION PROPOSED UNDER HB 365 AND SB 910, WHICH IS INTENDED TO REFORM POLICE OFFICER AND FIREFIGHTER PENSION PLANS AND DISABILITY PRESUMPTIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING THESE PLANS SUSTAINABLE, SOUND AND SECURE FOR BOTH CURRENT AND FUTURE MEMBERS; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Leesburg believes that current and future police officers and firefighters serving the citizens of Leesburg deserve pension plans that are sound, secure and sustainable; and
WHEREAS, the City finds that unfunded mandates imposed by the Florida Legislature have created defined benefit pension plan systems for local police officers and firefighters that are unstable, unsustainable and unreliable for current and future police officers and firefighters; and
WHEREAS, the unfunded mandates imposed by the Florida Legislature specify minimum pension benefit levels as well as the use of certain insurance premium tax revenues to fund pension plan increases; and
WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature has stipulated that health conditions related to heart disease, hypertension or tuberculosis experienced by any police officer or firefighter are to be presumed job related, and these “disability presumptions” are applicable to both workers’ compensation and disability pension claims; and
WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature has written and the courts have interpreted the disability presumption laws so favorably toward these employees that cities and other government employers find it an almost insurmountable obstacle to overcome the presumption and show the health condition was not work related; and
WHEREAS, in 1986 the Florida Legislature transferred all operational and administrative control of police and firefighter pension plans to legislatively created boards of trustees that exercise broad powers outside a city’s control, and which are not required to provide fiscal transparency or accountability for substantial amounts of public funds; and
WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Leesburg strongly believes that immediate relief is needed from the previously described mandates imposed by the Florida Legislature so that the City of Leesburg can responsibly address its pension and other personnel issues locally and in a manner that best serves its taxpayers, stops potential pension abuse and protects pensions for current and future generations of police and firefighters.
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA:
THAT the City of Leesburg supports HB 365 and SB 910 as responsible legislation that is intended to reform the State’s laws governing police and firefighter defined benefit pension plans and disability presumptions so that sound, secure and stable pensions will be available for both current and future police and firefighters.
THAT in recognizing the importance of Home Rule, and the need for local issues to be addressed locally, the City holds to the belief that the Florida Legislature should remove itself from the local collective bargaining process between the City of Leesburg and its police and firefighters.
THAT the City of Leesburg hereby requests the Florida Legislature to eliminate State mandates establishing minimum pension benefit standards for police and firefighter pensions; remove the requirement to provide new, extra pension benefits to police and firefighters; and authorize cities to use insurance premium tax revenues to help fund the level of pension benefits for police and firefighters that conform to the priorities established by the citizens of the City of Leesburg and their elected officials.
THAT the City of Leesburg hereby requests the Florida Legislature to enact responsible reforms that will bring about a fairer balance to the application of disability presumption laws relating to certain health conditions suffered by firefighters and police officers by requiring a police officer or firefighter to meet age and employment standards; and by allowing a disability presumption to be overcome by a preponderance of evidence, including consideration of certain individual risk factors such as tobacco use, weight and diet, genetics and lifestyle choices.
THAT the City of Leesburg hereby requests the Florida Legislature to impose reasonable fiscal transparency and accountability standards on all legislatively created police and firefighter pension Boards of Trustees.
THAT the City of Leesburg urges the Florida Legislature to pass and the Governor to approve the above responsible pension reform recommendations relating to police and firefighter pension plans and disability presumptions in the 2012 legislative session.
THAT the City Clerk is hereby directed to transmit a copy of this resolution to Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Legislature, and the Florida League of Cities, Inc.
THAT this resolution shall become effective immediately.
PASSED AND ADOPTED by the City Commission of the City of Leesburg, Florida, at a regular meeting held the 12th day of December 2011.