SB 84 Eliminates DB Plans for State Employees
SB 84 provides for compulsory membership in the Florida Retirement System Investment Plan (DC Account) for employees initially enrolled on or after July 1, 2022. The bill was approved by the Governmental Oversight and Accountability on February 4, 2021 by a vote of 4 in favor and 2 opposed. The bill has been sent to the Appropriations Committee. There is no companion bill in the House of Representatives. Read More
Florida ‘Defund The Police’ Bill Would Strip Local Governments Of Final Say On Police Pensions And Budgets
A staff analysis of the twin bills HB1 and SB484 would allow the governor and the Cabinet to override local officials if police budgets are decreased, or if funds are redirected from them. The Cabinet could force cities to increase police budgets if they wish, potentially resulting in cities being forced to slash other services or raise taxes in order to balance their budgets. Battles over police pensions are a perennial issue in municipal politics, as unions and elected officials play tug-of-war between revenue realities and union contracts. Under the current bills in Tallahassee, the governor and the Cabinet would have a final say over those pension battles. Read More
Defined benefit pensions crucial for economic health
“A report released by the National Institute on Retirement Security shows how one retirement instrument – defined benefit pensions – are effectively delivering Wall Street earnings into Main Street communities, supporting more than 395,000 jobs in California alone and creating $76.7 billion in economic impact in this state. Much public discussion has been focused on pensions and the costs to government agencies to contribute to the retirement security of employees. The discussion has ignored the back-end benefits of public employee pensions. Not only do pension benefits provide life-sustaining income for state and local government retirees, but they also boost the economies of the communities in which those retirees live. 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