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Session Law

2002

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Chapter 116 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORKFORCE REDUCTION THROUGH AN EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYEES.

Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide forthwith for a fair and orderly manner in which the number of employees of cities, towns, counties, districts and authorities can be reduced in order to meet fiscal limitations, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Notwithstanding chapter 32 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary and upon the acceptance of this section, on or before November 1, 2002 by the legislative and executive authorities within a city, town or county or an authority or district within a city, town or county or regional retirement system, the provisions of this act providing for an early retirement incentive program shall apply to an eligible employee who: (i) shall be an employee of the city, town, county, authority or district and an active member in service of the appropriate city, town, county or regional retirement system or shall be an employee or a regional school district and an active member in service of the state retirement system, but not a member of the state teacher's retirement system or Boston teacher's retirement system on the date of the regional school district's acceptance of this section on the date of the city, town, county, authority or district's acceptance of this section; (ii) shall be eligible to receive a superannuation retirement allowance in accordance with subdivision (1) of section 5 or subdivision (1) of section 10 of said chapter 32 upon the effective retirement date specified in his written application to the retirement system; (iii) shall have filed a written application with said retirement system in accordance with the seventh paragraph of this section; and (iv) shall be classified in Group 1, Group 2 or Group 4 in accordance with clause (g) of subdivision (2) of section 3 of said chapter 32; provided, however, that if the legislative authority in a town fails to accept this section by June 30, 2002, then the executive authority in a town, may accept this section without the approval of the legislative authority. Notwithstanding the notice provisions of section 10 of chapter 39 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, at least 7 days notice shall be given of any special town meeting that may be called in pursuance of a warrant to accept this section. Notwithstanding said section 10 of said chapter 39, or any other general or special law to the contrary, the selectmen shall call such a special town meeting, upon request in writing of 200 registered voters or by 10 per cent of the total number of registered voters of the town, whichever number is lesser, and such meeting shall be held not later than 30 days after the receipt of such request.

For the purposes of this act, "legislative authority" shall mean a town meeting in a town or in a town having a town council form of government, the town council or the town meeting if the town council so deems, the city council subject to its charter in a city and the county advisory board in a county other than the counties of Suffolk, Nantucket and Barnstable in which cases the county commissioners shall serve as the legislative authority, the governing body of the authority in an authority and the district meeting in a district, except for a regional school district, in which case the regional district school committee shall be the legislative authority; and "executive authority" shall mean the board of selectmen in a town, the mayor in a city, the county commissioners in a county, the governing body of the authority in an authority and the district meeting in a district, except for a regional school district in which case the regional district school committee shall be the executive authority. Any additional retirement benefits provided by this act for employees of regional school districts who are active members in service of the state retirement system shall be funded by the appropriate regional school districts. The early retirement incentive program shall be administered by the appropriate city, town, county, state or regional retirement system and each system shall promulgate regulations to implement the program.

Notwithstanding said chapter 32 to the contrary, the normal yearly amount of the retirement allowance for an eligible employee shall be based on the average annual rate of regular compensation as determined under paragraph (a) of subdivision (2) of section 5 of said chapter 32 and shall be computed according to the table contained in said paragraph (a) based on the age of such member and his number of years and full months of creditable service at the time of his retirement increased either by adding up to 5 years of age or by adding up to 5 years of creditable service or by a combination of additional years of age and service the sum of which shall not be greater than 5; provided, however, that the executive authority in a city, town, county, authority or district may limit the amount of additional credit for service or age or a combination of service or age offered. The executive authority in a city, town, county, authority or district may limit the total number of employees for whom it will approve a retirement calculated under this act or the total number of employees within each group classification for whom it will approve a retirement calculated under this act; provided further, that if participation is limited, the retirement of employees with greater years of creditable service shall be approved before approval shall be given to employees with lesser years of creditable service.

Words used in this act shall have the same meaning as they are used in said chapter 32 unless otherwise expressly provided or unless the context clearly requires otherwise. An eligible employee who retires and receives an additional benefit in accordance with this section shall be deemed to be retired for superannuation under said chapter 32 and shall be subject to all of said chapter 32; provided, however, that for the purposes of this section and notwithstanding subdivision (1) of section 10 of said chapter 32 requiring a member classified in Group 2 to have attained age 55 on the date of his termination of service in order to receive a Group 2 benefit, any employee eligible pursuant to the criteria established in this section, who is classified in Group 2 and who is at least 50 years of age but not yet 55 years of age, shall be eligible for a retirement allowance equal to that prescribed for a member classified in Group 2 upon the application for the additional benefit in accordance with this section.

The total normal yearly amount of the retirement allowance, as determined in accordance with section 5 of said chapter 32, of an eligible employee who retires and receives an additional benefit under the early retirement incentive program in accordance with this section shall not exceed 80 per cent of the average annual rate of his regular compensation received during any period of 3 consecutive years of creditable service for which the rate of compensation was the highest or of the average annual rate of his regular compensation received during the periods, whether or not consecutive, constituting his last 3 years of creditable service preceding retirement, whichever is greater.

Employees eligible to participate in the judiciary retirement incentive program pursuant to chapter 218 of the acts of 2001, employees eligible to participate in the retirement incentive program pursuant to chapter 219 of the acts of 2001, members of the state employees' retirement system, members of the teachers' retirement system and teachers who are members of the State-Boston retirement system shall not be eligible to receive any additional benefit provided pursuant to this section.

Notwithstanding any provision of section 5 of said chapter 32 that require a retirement date within 4 months of the filing of an application for superannuation retirement in order to receive the retirement benefit provided by this section, an eligible employee shall file his application for retirement not later than a date determined by the executive authority, which shall be not later than December 2, 2002; provided, the retirement date for eligible employees shall be determined by the executive authority and shall be not earlier than the effective date of this act and shall be no later than December 31, 2002; provided, however, that notwithstanding section 2, the date of retirement for employees of a city retirement board and town retirement board shall be 30 days after the retirement date determined by the executive authority in the city or town; and provided further, notwithstanding section 2, the retirement date for eligible employees of a county retirement board and regional retirement board shall be January 30, 2003.

The executive director of the public employee retirement administration commission shall analyze, study and valuate the costs and the actuarial liabilities attributable to the additional benefits payable in accordance with the early retirement incentive program established by this section for each retirement system. The executive director shall file a report of his findings to the board, in writing, on or before December 31, 2003, together with copies thereof to the county commissioners, the regional retirement board, the mayor, the board of selectmen, the governing body of an authority, the district committee or the regional school district committee as the case may be.

In accordance with section 22D of said chapter 32, the retirement board of a system which administers this section shall revise its retirement funding schedule to reflect the costs and the actuarial liabilities attributable to the additional benefits payable under the retirement incentive program in accordance with this section. In each of the fiscal years until the actuarial liability determined under this section shall be reduced to zero, it shall be an obligation of the applicable city, town, county, authority and district to fund such liability and there shall be appropriated to the applicable pension reserve fund in each such fiscal year the amount required by the funding schedule and the updates thereto.

SECTION 2. A city, within a city retirement system, whose legislative and executive authorities have accepted section 1, shall provide to employees of the retirement board of such city retirement system the same rights and privileges of the early retirement incentive program as provided in said section 1 under the same terms and conditions of that retirement program. A town, within a town retirement system, whose legislative and executive authorities have accepted said section 1, shall provide to employees of the retirement board of such town retirement system the same rights and privileges of the early retirement incentive program as provided in said section 1 under the same terms and conditions of that retirement program. A county whose legislative and executive authorities have accepted said section 1, shall provide to employees of the retirement board of such county the same rights and privileges of the early retirement incentive program as provided in said section 1, under the same terms and conditions of that retirement program.

Employees of the retirement board of a regional retirement system, upon acceptance by the legislative and executive authorities of such regional retirement system, shall be eligible to receive the rights and privileges of the early retirement incentive program as provided in said section 1, under the same terms and conditions as provided in said section 1; provided, however, that for the purposes of this paragraph and the third and seventh paragraphs of said section 1, the executive authority of the regional retirement system shall be the regional retirement board and the legislative authority shall be the regional retirement board.

Employees of the Essex agricultural and technical institute who are members of a regional retirement system, upon acceptance by the legislative and executive authorities, shall be eligible to receive the rights and privileges of the early retirement incentive program as provided in said section 1, under the same terms and conditions as provided in said section 1; provided, however, that for the purposes of this paragraph and the third and seventh paragraphs of said section 1, the executive authority of the Essex agricultural and technical institute shall be the board of trustees and the legislative authority shall be the board of trustees.

SECTION 3. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, established pursuant to chapter 81A of the General Laws, may, not later than September 1, 2002, participate in a retirement incentive program upon the written acceptance of the chairman of the board of directors of the authority. Eligibility for the retirement incentive program shall not exceed that provided in section 1 of chapter 219 of the acts of 2001 as applied to the circumstances at the authority. The authority may restructure the retirement incentive program at its discretion but the benefit received by a retiree shall not exceed the retirement benefits provided in section 3 of said chapter 219. The chairman may fill a position vacated as a result of an applicant's participation in the retirement incentive program under this section if the chairman determines that the position is vital to the public health, public safety or other critical operations of the commonwealth. The total annualized cost of regular compensation paid out by the commonwealth in fiscal year 2003 for refilled positions in the authority shall not exceed 20 per cent of the total annualized cost of regular compensation which would have been paid out by the commonwealth during fiscal year 2003 for the positions vacated in the authority pursuant to the retirement incentive program had such positions not been vacated; provided, that the total annualized cost of regular compensation paid out by the commonwealth in fiscal year 2004 for refilled positions in the authority shall not exceed 20 per cent of the total annualized cost of regular compensation which would have been paid out by the commonwealth during fiscal year 2004 for the positions vacated in the authority pursuant to the retirement incentive program had such positions not been vacated. The effective retirement date for employees of the authority shall not be earlier than the effective date of this act and not later than November 30, 2002.

SECTION 4. Section 4 of chapter 32 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 238, the words "January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six" and inserting in place thereof the following:- January 1, 1986.

SECTION 5. Section 19 of chapter 34B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 19, the word "three-year" and inserting in place thereof the following word:- 6-year.

SECTION 6. Section 3 of chapter 71 of the acts of 1996 is hereby amended by inserting after the second paragraph, as amended by section 45 of chapter 88 of the acts of 1997, the following paragraph:-

Members of the retirement system of a political subdivision who were eligible to apply for creditable service pursuant to this chapter, but failed to do so within 180 days of the acceptance of the act by the local legislative body may apply for such creditable service within 180 days of a vote by the local legislative body to allow such members an additional period of time to apply for such creditable service. A local legislative body shall be as defined in this section but the local legislative body for a regional retirement system shall be the regional retirement system advisory board. A local legislative body may vote to allow the additional time period under this paragraph only once.

Approved May 15, 2002.

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