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Longboat Key Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013 4 years ago

Commission alters fire pension board makeup

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The Longboat Key Town Commission wants to retire the current structure of the Firefighters’ System Board of Trustees.

During its March 20 workshop, the commission directed Town Manager Dave Bullock to draft an ordinance that alters future appointments to the firefighter plan, which in the process of being frozen for consideration at its April 1 meeting.

The commission agreed with a plan Vice Mayor David Brenner proposed that would allow the commission to select five board members, one who would be named the board’s chair. The town manager would be responsible for naming two board members.

Board members could include Key residents, firefighters and the town’s future finance director.

“The goal is to move this plan from a high-risk position to a limited-risk one,” Bullock said. “This is part of that plan, with the next step being to change the composition of the board.”

Currently, the board is made up of two commission appointees and two fire department union employees. Those four board members are responsible for selecting the fifth board member.

Although Bullock proposed three appointees from commissioners and two board members elected by both the town manager and the majority of the firefighters, the commission wasn’t comfortable with that makeup.

Commissioners urged for an odd number of members and increased the number of members from five to seven.

Earlier this month, the firefighters union and the commission ratified a three-year contract that freezes the firefighters’ current pension plan and enrolls current and future firefighters in the Florida Retirement System (FRS). The town will have nothing to do with the FRS plan, but still must administer the current frozen plan that still has benefits for members.

“There is no question where the control is with this future setup,” Brenner said.

In the future, the commission anticipates seeing this board helping to administer another frozen pension plan. The town is negotiating with the Longboat Key Police Union for a similar three-year contract.

“This format makes it pretty easy to incorporate other plans when the time comes,” Brenner said.

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