Governor Perdue signs important Firefighter Pension legislation
On Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Governor Sonny Perdue signed substitute HB 749 which merged the Class Nine Pension Fund with the Firefighter Pension Fund, effective July 1, 2006. With the merger, all firefighters in departments serving fire districts with ISO ratings of 1-9 will enjoy equal privileges and benefits under the same pension plan, and creditable service earned to date will be applied as earned in the single fund. However, the bill did not provide for any preferred buy back provisions nor are any contemplated at this time.
At the same time, the Governor signed Senate substitute for HB 344 which provides that a paid firefighter must be Standards and Training certified or a candidate for certification in order to participate in the pension fund. The bill also provides for part-time firefighters in keeping with the provisions of SB 169 of several years ago. (Volunteer firefighters are not affected by this bill.) The pension staff is in the process of developing, in conjunction with STC, the procedures, Rules and Regulations to implement this change effectively by July 1, 2006. Look for more details to come forward in the newsletter or a special mailing prior to the effective date.