FRS Senate Bill 1392: FOP Letter To All Senators

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Provided to Florida Public Employees

By: James W. Preston

Fraternal Order of Police 

FLORIDA STATE LODGE

April 22, 2013

TO ALL FLORIDA SENATORS

Dear Senators:

We are writing once again to express our deep concerns and confusion surrounding Senate Bill 1392 FRS Retirement by Wilton Simpson. The Fraternal Order of Police has stood in opposition to this bill from the onset, and have repeatedly given our concerns about the effects of defaulting into an investment plan for new law enforcement officers. There is a reason that 85% of those in FRS have elected the Defined Benefit plan over the D.C. investment plan.

I am enclosing Article 4, Objects and Purposes from the Florida State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Constitution and ByLaws that was adopted January 16, 1950 by the members of the Fraternal Order of Police in the newly formed Florida State Lodge.

In Section 2, it is the duty of the Fraternal Order of Police to always be on the alert at all sessions of the Florida Legislature to promote the interests of law enforcement officers. As you can see in Section 5, the Fraternal Order of Police even then advocated for pensions for law enforcement officers and we continue that advocacy today. We are proud of the long standing tradition of the Fraternal Order of Police to continue the quest to better the working conditions and benefits for our membership, past, present and future.

As the current State President, I take my responsibility to our membership and all Florida law enforcement very seriously. I owe it to all of those FOP members who came before me and all of those yet to come.

We are cognizant of the approaching exodus of those deputies that elected to join DROP before the legislative changes of 2010, this coupled with the additional 5 years added to the retirement of deputies will have an adverse effect on public safety in many of our Sheriff’s Departments.

There needs to be substantial clarification of the effects and differences of the DC investment plan and the Defined Benefit pension plan. We have stated to the members that there is a significant difference between the two plans. First and foremost, the DC investment plan is not a pension! It is an investment. The difference in the eventuality of an in the line of duty death is significant. There is NO “death benefit” in the DC investment plan. Several Senators have made the statement that it is just like the Defined Benefit pension plan, in truth it is not.

For this reason, we fought very hard to amend the House version, HB 7011 to include a “death benefit” in their bill which was added during committee hearings. If the legislators that are making these very serious decisions of major changes and consequences that have the potential to destabilize the FRS Defined Benefit plan are confused, imagine the 20 year old cadet, just starting their on the job training.

The families of fallen officers have always been a priority of the Fraternal Order of Police, for ALL law enforcement officers, not just our members. There is no death benefit for the law enforcement officer that is killed in the line of duty that is in the Florida DC investment plan; it is simply the payout of what has accrued in the investment account. Unfortunately, the salaries of these law enforcement officers are not high enough to accumulate enough to care for their surviving family members.

It is imperative that as Senators you realize the seriousness of the vote you are about to make, and are voting for what is best for the fine men and women serving Florida and protecting the citizens of Florida. We urge you to not support this bill or to at least fix the default setting and lack of death benefit for DC investment plan members, thru the amendatory process.

I ask you to do the right thing by these brave men and women.

Sincerely,

James W. Preston, President
Florida State Lodge
Fraternal Order of Police

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