May 6, 2009
AHPA Members,

President Jimmy ChavezYesterday in the House Appropriations Committee, House Bill 2636 received a Do Pass recommendation.  This budget bill is a concern to us because of the language contained in Section 11 of the bill.  That language would cause an increase to the employee contribution for members of PSPRS and CORP.  The proposed employee contribution rates would be 9.58% for PSPRS and 9.89% for CORP.  The exact language is below:

B.  Notwithstanding section 38‑843, Arizona Revised Statutes, for fiscal year 2009‑2010, each member of the public safety personnel retirement system shall contribute the lesser of 9.58 per cent or one‑half of the total level per cent compensation contribution determined by actuarial valuation of the member’s compensation to the system.  For fiscal year 2009‑2010, an employer’s contribution to the public safety personnel retirement system determined by actuarial valuation shall be reduced by the amount of the difference that is paid by the member pursuant to this subsection and the amount required by section 38‑843, Arizona Revised Statutes.  This subsection does not apply to a member of an employer whose 2009‑2010 calculated employer level per cent compensation contribution determined by actuarial valuation is equal to or less than the required member contribution prescribed by section 38‑843, Arizona Revised Statutes.

C.  Notwithstanding section 38‑891, Arizona Revised Statutes, for fiscal year 2009‑2010, each member of the corrections officer retirement plan shall contribute the lesser of 9.89 per cent, if a full‑time dispatcher, or 10.34 per cent, if not a full‑time dispatcher, or one‑half of the total level per cent compensation contribution determined by actuarial valuation of the member’s salary to the plan.  For fiscal year 2009‑2010, an employer’s contribution to the corrections officer retirement plan determined by actuarial valuation shall be reduced by the amount of the difference that is paid by the member pursuant to this subsection and the amount required by section 38‑891, Arizona Revised Statutes.  This subsection does not apply to a member of an employer whose 2009‑2010 calculated employer level per cent compensation contribution determined by actuarial valuation is equal to or less than the required member contribution prescribed by section 38‑891, Arizona Revised Statutes.

I did sign in on this bill, opposing it on behalf of the Association.  I have meetings scheduled with legislators over the next week in an effort to have this issue addressed.  If (and it is a big “IF”) this bill continues to move and ultimately makes it way to the Governor for her signature, it would amount to a significant pay cut for DPS employees in PSPRS as well as our dispatchers who will be moved into CORP.

One of the arguments that we will be using is that this language is contrary to the Arizona Constitution, particularly Article 29, Section 1, Part C and Article 2, Section 25.  In Article 29, the constitution states that “Membership in a public retirement system is a contractual relationship that is subject to article II, section 25, and public retirement system benefits shall not be diminished or impaired.”  Additionally, Article 2 states, “No bill of attainder, ex-post-facto law, or law impairing the obligation of a contract, shall ever be enacted.”

In addition to our efforts, we will be working with other groups affected by this bill, including our fellow members of the Arizona Police Association.   I would urge each of you to contact your local legislative member to voice your concern about this budget bill.  We have worked hard over the past several years to obtain pay increases and we will fight hard to protect our pay even in these tough budget times.

Jimmy Chavez,
President

Article written by/or information provided by tcamos

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