Firefighters, Ocoee officials continue negotiations
Ocoee firefighters sound the alarm on department turnover and ongoing contract negotiations on issues such as retention and wages. Among the articles in the contract the union has opened for negotiation is pension. The city’s current proposal is to cap the percentage of the pension multiplier at 3.25% for those hired after 2015 and 3.5% for those hired prior, as well as capping the percentage of pension entitlement to 81.25% and member contribution 8%. Read More
Split Lady Lake Commission turns down proposed police contract
A split Lady Lake Commission has turned down a new police contract over complaints that the guaranteed pension benefits are too generous. Under the proposal, the normal retirement age would be 55 with eight years of credited service or 20 years of credited service regardless of age; reduce the years of credited service from 10 to eight years; and increase the pension multiplier from 3.3 percent to 3.5 percent. The current police officer’s contribution to the pension plan cannot exceed 5 percent. Town Manager William Lawrence explained the pension benefits have given the town an advantage when it comes to recruiting police officers, particularly more mature officers looking for a “second career” in law enforcement. “It makes it more attractive for them to stay. It’s a good recruitment tool,” Lawrence said. Read More
Florida is America's future: Retired, politically active, collecting Social Security
Texas, Florida, and Arizona census figures reveal an American economy where there’s more growth coming from people who are moving to end their career rather than advance it. Yet the 2020 Census didn’t point to San Francisco or New York as the fastest-growing city, or even one of the dozens of smaller metros that emulate them. The fastest growing metro area in the U.S. is the Villages, a retirement community in central Florida. In 2020, 86% of the U.S. population lived in metropolitan statistical areas, up from 85% in 2010. Another 8% lived in micropolitan statistical areas, down from 9% in 2010. California was the most populous state in 2020 (39.5 million), followed by Texas (29.1 million), Florida (21.5 million), New York (20.2 million) and Pennsylvania (13.0 million). Read More
The City of Fort Lauderdale is the sponsor of the Fort Lauderdale Police and Firefighters’ Retirement System. All Fort Lauderdale sworn police officers and firefighters are eligible to participate in the plan. A seven-member Board of Trustees, who are either elected by the employees or appointed by the Mayor, administers the pension plan. The plan is a defined benefit plan that promises to pay a guaranteed benefit at retirement.
- 793 – Active members
- 1,167 – Retired members and beneficiaries
- 1,930 – TOTAL PLAN PARTICIPANTS
FUNDING Public safety officers contribute 10% of earnings into the pension plan. Members also pay 7.65% of earnings into Social Security and Medicare. Additional revenue to the pension plan comes from the State of Florida insurance premium tax, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and earnings generated on the invested assets. The plan’s investment returns provide 67% of the plan’s funding. Over the past 28 years, the plan had an average total return of 8.75% – greater than the assumed 7.4% rate of return.
BENEFITS Retirement benefits are based on (1) average final earnings, (2) years of service, and (3) a benefit formula. Public safety officers can retire after 20 years of creditable service (or after 10 years at age 55). Overtime and unused leave do not increase retirement benefits. After 20 years of service, public safety officers are eligible to receive a retirement benefit equaling 60% of their monthly earnings. Retirement benefits are not automatically adjusted annually for cost of living changes. Retirees have not received a COLA since 2001.
DISABILITY Service-related disability benefits provided by the plan cannot exceed 65% of current monthly earnings. Non-service benefits cannot exceed 50% of monthly earnings, with reductions for Social Security benefits, Workers Compensation, or other earned income. The Fort Lauderdale Police and Firefighters’ Retirement System was established by City Ordinance and became effective January 3, 1973. As of 9-30-2019, the pension fund assets totaled $927 million.
For more information, see the Annual Report Newsletter