A call for ACTION in regard to your pension!

make your AFC the AVERAGE OF ALL YEARS of service. This could effectively cut your pension by as much as 50%.

Share

A call to ACTION,

In the last few weeks I have posted several news releases in regard to the potential for significant change to the Florida Retirement System.  Even though Florida has one of the most financially sound pension systems in the US, it is underfunded by some 10 or 12%. That situation could get even worse in view of the economy, unemployment, and depressed real estate values, which create stress on the state’s tax collection and revenues.   I visited the Florida Legislature’s website to investigate what might be in store, and found no less than 10 bills suggesting changes to the current system.  You will find what I deemed to be the most pertinent considerations summarized below.

House Bill 1319 sponsored by Representative Tom Grady of Collier County

This bill could be far reaching.  Among its provisions is one to eliminate the current basis of your Average Final Compensation (AFC) from the average of your highest five years, and instead make your AFC the AVERAGE OF ALL YEARS of service.  This could effectively cut your pension by as much as 50%. It would average your first year with your last, and every year in between.  This is by far the most drastic change proposed.

No overtime would be allowed in computing your average compensation.

Representative Grady also proposes to change the normal retirement age for Special Risk from 55 to 60, and minimum years of service to retire from 25 to 30.  For Civilians the retirement age would go from 62 to 65, and years of service from 30 to 33.

It also proposes to reduce the annual service credit for Special Risk from the current 3%, to a blended rate over various years from between 2% to 3%.  It would average somewhere around 2.6% for long time employees and going forward the credit appears to be 2%.   A blended rate is proposed for Civilians also.

All employees would contribute 1% of their gross pay to their retirement.

House Bill 1543 sponsored by Representative Juan Zapata representing parts of  Miami-Dade

Would reduce the annual credit for service from 3% to 2% (a 33% cut)

Overtime for AFC would be capped at 4% for your AFC computation

Reduces the FRS classes to two, by eliminating “Special Risk Support”, Senior Management, and Elected Officers Class

House Bill 0413 sponsored by Representative John Wood representing parts of Polk County and Representative Stephen Precourt representing parts of Lake, Orange and  Osceola

And Senate Bill 660 sponsored by Senator Mike Fasano Representing Parts of citrus, Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas Counties

All new employees after January 1, 2011 would participate in a defined contribution plan where the employee funds the majority of the plan through payroll deduction.  The Pension plan would not exist for new employees.

These bills are intended to cut the government cost of funding the State Retirement System.  The design of these cuts is to reduce the benefits to the members (YOU) in the retirement system.  In order for your voice to be heard you MUST contact your legislative delegation and the sponsors of these bills and ask that they support your position with regards to the benefits offered by the Florida State Retirement System.    Your individual representatives and senators may be found by visiting www.myfloridahouse.gov then click on representatives and www.myflsenate.gov then click on senators.

Take these 3 actions to make your voice heard; Call your representative on the phone, Write them an email, and most importantly WRITE A LETTER AND MAIL IT through the US Postal System and express your thoughts.  There are over 650,000 FRS participants.  If each does all three, that is almost 2 million pieces of input!

You can find the full text of the bills on the Sunshine web site:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Welcome/index.cfm?CFID=140429002&CFTOKEN=37213078

Please send us your comments, so we and our readers know where you stand.

  • Stephen

    Bill is DEAD

  • Stephen

    Bill is DEAD

  • John S.

    Does anyone know if there is a way to take the full value of our pension out of FRS and park it in a privately managed fund so it is no longer under control of the state thieves? Or anything that is as far away from state legistlation as possible? Anyone?

  • John S.

    Does anyone know if there is a way to take the full value of our pension out of FRS and park it in a privately managed fund so it is no longer under control of the state thieves? Or anything that is as far away from state legistlation as possible? Anyone?

  • Stephen

    I read on the House website 1543 is “withdrawn from further consideration.” http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/MyHouse/

  • Stephen

    I read on the House website 1543 is “withdrawn from further consideration.” http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/MyHouse/

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    If you move it to the Investment Plan you can roll it to an IRA outside of FRS, I can help you with that.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    If you move it to the Investment Plan you can roll it to an IRA outside of FRS, I can help you with that.

  • splasher1

    All the major cuts are sponsored by Republicans Grady and Juan Zapata. We have been public servants making less money than our private company peers for many years only to have these idiots retroactively try to cut our retirement benefits?????? Vote them all out at the ballot box.

  • splasher1

    All the major cuts are sponsored by Republicans Grady and Juan Zapata. We have been public servants making less money than our private company peers for many years only to have these idiots retroactively try to cut our retirement benefits?????? Vote them all out at the ballot box.

  • Stephen

    The House Bills have been reported ad Dead.

  • Stephen

    The House Bills have been reported ad Dead.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    My understanding is both 1319 and 1543 are dead!!!!!

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    My understanding is both 1319 and 1543 are dead!!!!!

  • KEVIN

    I'm a Transit employee for the state and I'm tired of me ” the working poor” getting kicked around by these crooks in our Government. How can anyone live and work for the State with these proposals. Please give me valuable contact information to write and e-mail people. I can promise I will vote out every CROOK in office… This is disgusting!

    HELP! Please provide me phone contacts and e-mails….

  • KEVIN

    I'm a Transit employee for the state and I'm tired of me ” the working poor” getting kicked around by these crooks in our Government. How can anyone live and work for the State with these proposals. Please give me valuable contact information to write and e-mail people. I can promise I will vote out every CROOK in office… This is disgusting!

    HELP! Please provide me phone contacts and e-mails….

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    I have also heard, unconfirmed, that 1543 is dead. Trying to confirm both! This could be huge!!!!!

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    I have also heard, unconfirmed, that 1543 is dead. Trying to confirm both! This could be huge!!!!!

  • Stephen

    If anyone feels they need to hear it for themselves please call (850)488-4487 Representative Grady's Office and Post your response here.

  • Stephen

    If anyone feels they need to hear it for themselves please call (850)488-4487 Representative Grady's Office and Post your response here.

  • tertonsco

    I received this e-mail today from Rep. Grady's office. I hope it means FOREVER, not just “this session”!

    Thank you for contacting us to express your thoughts on House Bill 1319, sponsored by Rep. Grady. The bill will not be heard in any committees this session, and therefore cannot advance any farther in the legislative process. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding other legislation.

    Sincerely,

    Jesse Allan Adams
    Special Assistant
    Rep. Tom Grady, District 76
    Naples: (239) 417-6200
    Tallahassee: (850) 488-4487
    Fax: (239) 417-6204

  • tertonsco

    I received this e-mail today from Rep. Grady's office. I hope it means FOREVER, not just “this session”!

    Thank you for contacting us to express your thoughts on House Bill 1319, sponsored by Rep. Grady. The bill will not be heard in any committees this session, and therefore cannot advance any farther in the legislative process. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding other legislation.

    Sincerely,

    Jesse Allan Adams
    Special Assistant
    Rep. Tom Grady, District 76
    Naples: (239) 417-6200
    Tallahassee: (850) 488-4487
    Fax: (239) 417-6204

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    I posted the great news! Thank you for your help and following our site!

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    I posted the great news! Thank you for your help and following our site!

  • Oscar Laffitte

    I called Brady's office and my representative's office and both confirmed that it is not going to be considered this year. Yet, portions of this bill can still come up this session. Now is not the time to get complacent. Contine what we have started with our calls and letters. The fight is not over and it will not be until the FRS is safe!

  • Oscar Laffitte

    I called Brady's office and my representative's office and both confirmed that it is not going to be considered this year. Yet, portions of this bill can still come up this session. Now is not the time to get complacent. Contine what we have started with our calls and letters. The fight is not over and it will not be until the FRS is safe!

  • Nelson

    To FRS members: Do NOT start start throwing out alternatives like “do it only for new hirees, or phase it in or blah blah blah”. Do not accept that it is inevitable. That is why the legislature “floated” this bill, to scare you so you would accept a less draconian bill later.

    Why ? They save $15 Billion dollars by changing the afc and 1.8 Billion dollars by eliminating the HIS (health insurance subsidy).

    The current budget shortfall is only 3.6 billion dollars….hmmmmm, scratching my head. Why consider cuts that would reap 15 billion when the deficit is only 3.6. ??

    So do not let these legislators “scare” you into accepting cuts. Keep up the pressure on them.

    Also, where is the proviso language that the proposed cuts will be restored when the state economy improves ?? Where is the proviso language that the legislators salaries and benefits and budget will be cut ?? Hmmmm, not there .

    Additionally, the FRS is one of the top 4 performers of all the state pension plans and is only down 10 to 20 percent. Not so bad in these terrible economic times.

    Bottom line they are trying to scare all the police, firemen, teachers, state employees so they will accept lesser, unnecessary cuts, when in fact they are NOT the way to balance the budget.

    Ok enough …and of course should they ever enact those afc changes, the courts will fill up in two minutes with thousands of lawsuits from FRS members…

  • Nelson

    To FRS members: Do NOT start start throwing out alternatives like “do it only for new hirees, or phase it in or blah blah blah”. Do not accept that it is inevitable. That is why the legislature “floated” this bill, to scare you so you would accept a less draconian bill later.

    Why ? They save $15 Billion dollars by changing the afc and 1.8 Billion dollars by eliminating the HIS (health insurance subsidy).

    The current budget shortfall is only 3.6 billion dollars….hmmmmm, scratching my head. Why consider cuts that would reap 15 billion when the deficit is only 3.6. ??

    So do not let these legislators “scare” you into accepting cuts. Keep up the pressure on them.

    Also, where is the proviso language that the proposed cuts will be restored when the state economy improves ?? Where is the proviso language that the legislators salaries and benefits and budget will be cut ?? Hmmmm, not there .

    Additionally, the FRS is one of the top 4 performers of all the state pension plans and is only down 10 to 20 percent. Not so bad in these terrible economic times.

    Bottom line they are trying to scare all the police, firemen, teachers, state employees so they will accept lesser, unnecessary cuts, when in fact they are NOT the way to balance the budget.

    Ok enough …and of course should they ever enact those afc changes, the courts will fill up in two minutes with thousands of lawsuits from FRS members…

  • elsapo89

    I believe if the legislators want to look at changes they may want to look at the fact that 650,000 peoples lives are in the hands of three who manage the state retirement fund –governor…CFO… and whoever else. Maybe the fund would be better off if the managers would not have invested in Enron, Lehman Brothers, and other politically connected companies that have been run into the ground by greedy and unconscionsable folks.

  • elsapo89

    I believe if the legislators want to look at changes they may want to look at the fact that 650,000 peoples lives are in the hands of three who manage the state retirement fund –governor…CFO… and whoever else. Maybe the fund would be better off if the managers would not have invested in Enron, Lehman Brothers, and other politically connected companies that have been run into the ground by greedy and unconscionsable folks.

  • Gary

    When I started twenty years ago in County government I knew it would be a tortoise and hare situation. I could join the private sector and make good money and do my own investing for my retirement or I could take a serious cut in pay and opt for a secure well funded retirement in government, and trust me back then it was the only way to get the qualified people they needed desperately to protect the public's interest. So the private sector has run full tilt making money hand over fist, and we in public service worked hard kept our nose to the grindstone and waited for our just and well earned reward. Now we have all hit a bump in the road and the first thing you want to do is balance the budget on the backs of the government worker. You want to renege on the retirement offers you the public made through your representatives for cheaper labor (so you could keep more of the money then) .I hear lots of talk about not raising taxes because those people are hurting out there, well, contrary to popular belief so are we and we didn’t have the same opportunity to make the investments during the boon times that the public sector has or should have with all that disposable income you’ve had. It is what’s inherently wrong these days within our society, there is no honor, no integrity, you can’t count on what people say or even on apparently what’s written in the Florida Statutes (definition of a statute- a “permanent” established rule or law, definition of permanent – everlasting, never changing) so if you don’t like the outcome of the game just change the rules to suit you. I say raise the taxes to cover your obligations and I’ll tell you what we, the government workers in the FRS will do, we’ll help cover the costs, because again contrary to popular belief that we don’t contribute to our own retirement, we’re taxpayers to.

  • Gary

    When I started twenty years ago in County government I knew it would be a tortoise and hare situation. I could join the private sector and make good money and do my own investing for my retirement or I could take a serious cut in pay and opt for a secure well funded retirement in government, and trust me back then it was the only way to get the qualified people they needed desperately to protect the public's interest. So the private sector has run full tilt making money hand over fist, and we in public service worked hard kept our nose to the grindstone and waited for our just and well earned reward. Now we have all hit a bump in the road and the first thing you want to do is balance the budget on the backs of the government worker. You want to renege on the retirement offers you the public made through your representatives for cheaper labor (so you could keep more of the money then) .I hear lots of talk about not raising taxes because those people are hurting out there, well, contrary to popular belief so are we and we didn’t have the same opportunity to make the investments during the boon times that the public sector has or should have with all that disposable income you’ve had. It is what’s inherently wrong these days within our society, there is no honor, no integrity, you can’t count on what people say or even on apparently what’s written in the Florida Statutes (definition of a statute- a “permanent” established rule or law, definition of permanent – everlasting, never changing) so if you don’t like the outcome of the game just change the rules to suit you. I say raise the taxes to cover your obligations and I’ll tell you what we, the government workers in the FRS will do, we’ll help cover the costs, because again contrary to popular belief that we don’t contribute to our own retirement, we’re taxpayers to.

  • Nelson

    they passed hb 5701 eliminating health insurance subsidies. april 1

    The House also passed a series of implementing and conforming bills. Democrats won a fleeting victory when they attracted enough Republicans to defeat the conforming bill cutting retiree health insurance subsidy benefits (HB 5701) 59-57, but it then was reconsidered and passed 63-56.

    http://www.greenwichtime.com/default/article/Fl

  • Nelson

    they passed hb 5701 eliminating health insurance subsidies. april 1

    The House also passed a series of implementing and conforming bills. Democrats won a fleeting victory when they attracted enough Republicans to defeat the conforming bill cutting retiree health insurance subsidy benefits (HB 5701) 59-57, but it then was reconsidered and passed 63-56.

    http://www.greenwichtime.com/default/article/Fl

  • Nelson

    they passed hb 5701, with vote switches april 1, eliminating health insurance subsidies for all frs folks, retirees and workers

    http://www.greenwichtime.com/default/article/Fl

  • Nelson

    they passed hb 5701, with vote switches april 1, eliminating health insurance subsidies for all frs folks, retirees and workers

    http://www.greenwichtime.com/default/article/Fl

  • mikearias

    All of the proposed amendments to the FRS system is simply an outrage and injustice for the participating members since their is no provision to grandfather in current members. Secondly, when the members joined the FRS system the current fringe benefits were those which were being offered at that time and to change the rules of the contract during the career of these employees I beleive is simply illegal and an unfair labor practice. The proposed changes if approved will eventually be the demise of the FRS system since employees will opt for other choices. I also hope that those responsible for proposing the changes to FRS plan will also accept changes and a reduction to their retirement fringe benefits as well so that, there is no disparity and or inequities in the system regardless of employee retirement classification. Finally, On election day let all of FRS members remember the names of those responsible for creating this mess and then simply vote them permanently out of office.

  • mikearias

    All of the proposed amendments to the FRS system is simply an outrage and injustice for the participating members since their is no provision to grandfather in current members. Secondly, when the members joined the FRS system the current fringe benefits were those which were being offered at that time and to change the rules of the contract during the career of these employees I beleive is simply illegal and an unfair labor practice. The proposed changes if approved will eventually be the demise of the FRS system since employees will opt for other choices. I also hope that those responsible for proposing the changes to FRS plan will also accept changes and a reduction to their retirement fringe benefits as well so that, there is no disparity and or inequities in the system regardless of employee retirement classification. Finally, On election day let all of FRS members remember the names of those responsible for creating this mess and then simply vote them permanently out of office.

  • Pingback: A call for ACTION in regard to your pension! | Florida Retirement … | Lee County FL Real Estate

  • Pingback: A call for ACTION in regard to your pension! | Florida Retirement … | Collier County FL Real Estate

  • Mad at political posturing

    I have read a lot of the previous comments showing the outrage of this proposed bill 1319. As I understand it, this bill is not out, just in hiatus until the new session. I am a government employee of 26 years who took a 35% pay cut to hire in so I could have a retirement which would ease my old age. Now, at a 50% reduction in the amount of my retirement and the added 3 years I will have to work, will make it all but impossible for me to retire at all. Combine the fact that we in my County have not had a raise in 3 years, are being forced to take 5 unpaid days next year and are being asked to take time off without pay on a voluntary basis (yeah right!), I wonder why I have strived to be loyal and productive. My representatives will be hearing from me.

  • Shepfer

    How loud can you say – BREACH OF CONTRACT! We contracted with the respective government agencies based on salary AND benefit package. This sounds like the potential for a Class Action suit against the State of Florida. If Scott wants to save money why doesn’t HE work for free and return the money he cheated the government out of in Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

  • Scared

    I have 30 years in the FRS in July, 2011 and most of these go into effect 1 month prior to me retiring August 1st. Talk about a kick in the head. I’m very upset.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    Nothing has changed yet. Make the calls. Fight the fight.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    Wow, I don’t see a question in there that is answerable, but I don’t know of any bonuses for poor people who put up with our government. Sorry. On the other side, I believe he will retain all of the benefits that he has earned over the last 18 years, and will get additional benefits going forward.