In summer 2018, the FPPA Board of Directors created a Statewide Plans Task Force with the express purpose of studying the statewide plans managed by FPPA. This includes the Statewide Defined Benefit Plan (SWDB), the Statewide Death & Disability Plan (SWD&D) and the Statewide Hybrid Plan (SWH). Over the course of several months, the Task Force met on several occasions to dig into these plans and evaluate possible plan changes.
Purpose of the Statewide Plans Task Force
As we noted in this article from October 2018, the Task Force was charged with evaluating several ideas related to the Statewide Pension System and its individual plans. Examples of topics to be explored included:
- Increased contributions
- Possible changes to Plan benefits
- Sustainable administration and funding of the Statewide Death & Disability Plan
- Contribution splits between the Defined Benefit and Money Purchase components of the Hybrid Plan
Throughout the process, the Task Force was also tasked with evaluating the findings of their study and providing recommendations to the Board regarding the future of the statewide plans. Any recommendations made by the Task Force would be non-binding and up to the Board to use in future decisions at their own discretion.
Task Force Membership
The task force was comprised of 16 total members representing the FPPA Board, Employers, Fire Departments and Police Departments across Colorado. Assembling a large and varied group helped to ensure that many perspectives were considered regarding any changes recommended by the Task Force.
Members of the Task Force and their categorizations were:
- Todd Bower, Co-Chair
- Pam Feely, Co-Chair
- Tyson Worrell
- Karen Frame (although not a member of the Task Force, she was a regular attendee)
- Kevin Bommer, Colorado Municipal League
- Tom DeMint, Chief, Poudre Fire Authority
- Kerry George, City of Colorado Springs
- Bella Trujillo, City of Pueblo
- Michael Valdez, Special District Association
- Laura Wachter, City of Denver
- Ken Watkins, Chief, Grand Junction Fire Department
Fire Department Member Representatives
- Phil Cordova, Denver Fire Department
- Mike Frainier, West Metro Fire Rescue
- Derek Wheeler, Colorado Springs Fire Department
Police Department Member Representatives
- Jesse Campion, Denver Police Department
- Dante Carbone, Thornton Police Department (ret.)
- Patrick Phelan, Denver Police Department
Statewide Plans Task Force Recommendations
Over the course of several months, the Task Force convened 11 times to discuss the various issues of the Statewide Plans. Equally important in these talks was how we were to resolve those issues; what changes to FPPA rules and regulations (and underlying state legislation) would need to be made for the benefits to be provided without hindering the strength or viability of the plans themselves?
The Task Force ultimately reached a conclusion on several recommendations to the Board regarding the statewide plans.
It is important to note that these are recommendations, not mandates. It is up to the Board to evaluate the recommendations and make a final decision before any action is taken by FPPA.
Statewide Defined Benefit Plan Recommendations
The Task Force recommended that the Board consider seeking legislation:
- to increase the SWDB employer contribution rate by 5% of pay over 10 years (0.5% per year);
to create a Rule of 80 provision allowing for unreduced retirement by those satisfying that rule; and
- to convert all SRA accounts into defined contribution accounts in which the members are vested.
Statewide Hybrid Plan Recommendations
The Task Force did not recommend any immediate action regarding the Statewide Hybrid Plan. However, the Task Force indicated that future study was needed regarding this plan, and recommended that the Board continue to review the plan to determine if future changes are needed.
Statewide Death & Disability Plan Recommendations
With respect to the Statewide Death & Disability Plan, the Task Force recommended:
- the Board seek legislation giving the FPPA Board the power to make upward or downward contribution rate adjustments, not to exceed +/- 0.2% per year, and to seek a state contribution into the plan; and
- that the FPPA Board commit to not exceeding a plan contribution rate in excess of 5% of pay without prior notice and opportunity of employers to be heard
Ryan Woodhouse is a Digital Content Specialist for the Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado. When not authoring blog posts, Ryan can be found fly fishing in the Colorado high country or shouting at the TV during University of Wisconsin football and basketball games.