In their meeting on Oct. 6, the Trustees of the LA Fire and Police Pension Plan heard from lawyers on both sides of the debate over the vesting of retiree health benefits. When the presentations were over, the Trustees reaffirmed the opinion of the Coalition’s legal team that there is no clear and settled conclusion on this matter and that retirees were vulnerable to benefit freezes.
In the meeting, Christopher W. Waddell, the independent attorney retained by the Fire and Police Pension Plan, argued that retiree medical benefits are vested.
Arthur A. Hartinger, the independent attorney retained by the City, took the opposing view. Hartinger argued that the law regarding retiree health care was evolving.
Last spring, Coalition Attorney Tony Segall advised the Coalition that the law on this issue was far from settled and that the best way to protect members was to lock the benefit into our contract.
At the Oct. 6 meeting, after asking detailed questions of both lawyers and hearing from Councilmembers, the CAO, and members of the public, the Board quickly and unanimously adopted a motion stating that the opinions submitted by Mr. Waddell do not reflect the opinion of the Board. In other words, the LAFPP essentially sided with the Coalition.
As a result, the Police and Fire Pension Plan is moving forward with freeze for fire fighters and police officers who have not opted to increase their contribution to LACERS (as negotiated by their respective unions and adopted by City Council). Coalition members in units that did not approve the Coalition’s agreement with the city last spring face the same freeze.
For more information, please contact your worksite organizer.