Police and fire retirement system merger discussions cease Legislature still considering fund transfer to undefined benefit enhancement fund in advance of actuarial studies review

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Washington State Fraternal Order of Police Executive Director Lynnette Buffington

Washington State Fraternal Order of Police (WAFOP) received a statement indicating that discussions regarding a merger of Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Plan (LEOFF) 1 and 2 have been discontinued and efforts to create such legislation during the 2019 Washington State Legislative session will be stopped.

Legislation regarding LEOFF still remain active in the form of HB 2144 and SB 5983. Both bills call for the transfer of $300 million from the LEOFF 2 Fund to the Benefit Improvement Account (BIA). Created in 2008 and to be funded by the legislature in every biennium the BIA has not received the promised funding since its inception. Additionally, the account does not have defined benefits and to date has no plans to develop those benefits.

A transfer of funds could happen before actuarial studies from both the Washington State Actuary and the Society of Actuaries provide the LEOFF 2 Board valuable data and advisement on fiduciarily appropriate actions related to the fund and the BIA.

“Regardless of the status of a LEOFF merger discussion, the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police continues to call on the legislature to consider the value of a data driven decisions in relation to the LEOFF Transfer bills,” said Washington State Fraternal Order of Police Executive Director Lynnette Buffington. “We applaud the LEOFF plan participants that have expressed their viewpoints on both the transfer and merger topics to their public officials. We encourage continued engagement on HB 2144/SB 5983. We’d also like to recognize and thank Senator Van De Wege for the care and concern he has for our state’s pension systems and for bringing LEOFF stakeholders together for the purpose collaborative discussion on a merger.”

 

 

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