CHAPTER 167 - WILMINGTON - PENSIONS TO MEMBERS OF FIRE AND POLICE BUREAUS

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF PENSIONS AND DEATH BENEFITS TO MEMBERS OF THE BUREAU OF FIRE AND BUREAU OF POLICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY OF THE CITY OF WILMINGTON.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met (two-thirds of each branch thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. The provisions of this Act shall apply to any person who shall become a member of either the Bureau of Fire or the Bureau of Police of the Department of Public Safety of the City of Wilmington after April 16, 1945 and to any person who is a member of either of said Bureaus on April 16, 1945 as may voluntarily agree to accept the provisions of this Act as hereinafter specified.

Section 2. When used in this Act the word or words defined in this Section shall have the meaning herein assigned to them, as follows:

A. The word "member" means any Fireman,. Officer of the Bureau of Fire, Patrolman, Officer of the Bureau of Police, Detective, Matron and other employee of either Bureau engaged in actual Police of Fire duties, whether on active duty or assigned to other tasks, with the exception of civilian employees, which include, by way of illustration and not of limitation, telephone operators, clerks, secretaries, mechanics, fire inspectors not otherwise qualified as Firemen, radio operators and repairers not otherwise qualified as Patrolmen or Firemen or as Officers of either Bureau and such other employees of either Bureau who do not, at the commencement of their employment, receive a certificate of eligibility for the benefits of this Act.

B. The words "years of Service" mean the number of years, including fractional parts thereof to the nearest one-twelfth (1/12), of continuous employment as a member of either the Bureau of Fire or Bureau of Police, or both, provided, however, that where continuous employment is interrupted by a leave of absence granted by the Directors of the Department of Public Safety, the period of continuous employment prior to such leave * of absence shall be included in "years of service" and provided that in the discretion of the Directors the period of such leave of absence may likewise be included in "years of service".

C. The words "average retiring salary" means an amount equal to the aggregate of the full monthly salary for the last' sixty (60) months of service prior to retirement without taking into consideration any period during which a leave of absence may have been granted, divided by sixty (60).

D. The word "Directors" means the Directors of the Department of Public Safety or a majority of them.

Section 3. Any member of either the Bureau of Fire or Bureau of Police may be retired by the Directors, in their absolute discretion and without hearing or other trial, after the member attains the age of fifty (50) years. Any such retired member shall be entitled during life to a service pension payable monthly as hereinafter provided. Such service pension shall be an amount equal to two per cent (2%) of the average retiring salary multiplied by the number of years of service up to and including twenty-five (25) years of service plus one per cent (1%) of such average retiring salary multiplied by the number of years of service in excess of twenty-five (25) years.

Section 4. In case of the disability of a member of either the Bureau of Fire or Bureau of Police which permanently prevents such member from performing his or her active duties, such member may be retired by the Directors in their absolute discretion.

A. In the event that such disability can be shown to the satisfaction of the Directors to have been acquired in the prosecution of his or her official duties, such member, so retired, shall be entitled to a pension, payable monthly, as long as such member shall live and continue to be so disabled. The amount of such pension during the first year of such retirement shall be the full monthly salary at the rate of pay last received by such member for active service, and thereafter shall be either half the monthly salary at the rate of pay last received by such member for active service or the amount of service pension which such retired member would have been entitled to if retiring on service pension at the time of retirement, whichever is higher, plus, after the first year of said retirement, Ten Dollars ($10.00) per month for each living dependent child born or conceived before such retirement and currently under the age of eighteen (18) years. If a member so retired because of a disability so acquired shall die during the continuance of such disability, leaving a widow who had been continuously married to and living with such member from before retirement until his death and/or a living dependent child or children born or conceived at the time of such retirement and currently under the age of eighteen (18) years such pension shall be continued as hereinafter provided in this paragraph of Section 4. If such member shall leave such a widow alone surviving him, the pension shall be continued payable to such widow until her death or remarriage. If such member shall leave such a widow and such child or children, or such child or children alone surviving, the pension shall be continued at the same rate payable to such widow or to the guardian of such child or children until the death or remarriage of such widow or until such youngest living child reaches the age of eighteen (18) years, whichever event happens last. If such member shall so die without leaving such a widow or such child or children surviving but leaving a dependent parent or parents for whom such member was the principal means of support, a pension equal to one-third (1/3) of the pension hereinabove provided for the disabled member shall be continued to each such parent so surviving during his or her lifetime or until his or her dependency shall cease.

B. In case of disability to perform his or her active duties, which disability cannot be shown to the satisfaction of the Directors to have been acquired in the prosecution of his or her official duties, such member, so retired, provided he or she has performed ten (10) years of service, shall be entitled to a pension, payable monthly, as long as such retired member lives and continues disabled. Such pension shall be an amount equal to two per cent (2%) of the average retiring salary of such member multiplied by the number of years of service up to and including twenty-five (25) years of service plus one per cent (1%) of such average retiring salary multiplied by the number of years of such service in excess of twenty-five (25) years.

No member of either Bureau shall be retired under the provisions of Section 4 of this Act until he or she shall have been found to be permanently disabled to perform his or her active duties by a Board of three (3) physicians, one appointed by the member, one appointed by the Directors and the third selected by the first two and until such board of three (3) physicians shall have certified that such disability has been shown to have been acquired in the prosecution of the official duties of such member or that such disability has not been shown to have been acquired in the prosecution of his or her official duties; provided, however, the requirement of action by such board may be dispensed with by the consent in writing of such member to such retirement and the amount of pension applicable hereunder. The findings of a 1 majority of such board of three (3) physicians in respect to any question before them shall be considered the findings of said board. Compensation to the members of said board of three (3) physicians shall be paid by the City of Wilmington as a part of the cost of the pensions and benefits provided by this Act.

C. The directors may at any time and from time to time but not after such member attains the age of fifty (50) years require a retired member who has been retired under Section 4 of this Act to be re-examined by the surgeon of either Bureau, or by some other competent physician selected by the Directors, and if on such re-examination such retired member is reported capable of performing regular duty, such retired member may be required by the Directors to return to active duty in the same rank and grade in which he or she was serving at the time of retirement, whereupon pension hereunder shall cease.

Section 5. In the event of the death of a member of the Bureau of Fire or Bureau of Police which can be shown to the satisfaction of the Directors to have occurred in the prosecution of his or her official duties, a pension shall be paid from the date of such death as hereinafter provided. The amount of such pension shall be the last full monthly salary at the rate of pay last received by such member for active service for one year from his or her death and thereafter shall be either half the monthly salary at the rate of pay last received by such member for active service or, after such first year, the amount of service pension that said member would have been entitled to if retiring on service pension at the date of his or her death, whichever is higher, plus Ten Dollars ($10.00) per month for each living dependent child of such member who was currently under the age of eighteen (18) years. Such pension shall be paid in monthly payments to the widow of such member living with such member at his death until her death or remarriage. Upon the death or remarriage of such widow, or upon the death of such member if no such widow shall survive, such pension shall be paid to the guardian of such living dependent child or children of such member currently under the age of eighteen (18) years. If such deceased member shall not leave such a widow or such dependent child or children surviving him or her but shall leave a dependent parent or parents surviving, one-third (1/3) of the pension which would have been paid to such a surviving widow, had a widow survived, shall be paid to each such surviving parent during his or her lifetime or until such dependency ceases.

In the event of the death of a member of either Bureau occurring after ten (10) years of service as a member in either Bureau, which death cannot be shown to have occurred in the prosecution of his or her official duties, one year's salary at the last current rate of pay of such member shall be paid in a lump sum to the widow, guardian of a surviving child or children under the age of eighteen (18), or dependent parent or parents for whom such member was the principal means of support, in the order named.

In the event of the death of a retired member who has been retired either on service pension provided in Section 3 or on disability pension provided under Section 4-B, occurring before such retired member shall have received monthly pension payments aggregating such one year's salary, the excess of such one year's salary over the monthly pension payments so received shall be paid in one lump sum to the person or persons designated in the last preceding paragraph in the order named.

No determination shall be made by the Directors that the death of a member has or has not been shown to have occurred in the prosecution of his or her official duties unless and until all of the persons immediately entitled to any benefits under the provisions of this Act shall have been afforded a hearing and an opportunity to produce testimony in this respect. The decision of the Directors in this respect after such hearing shall be final.

Section 6. Any pension payable under the provisions of this Act shall be reduced or suspended as follows:

A. No pension shall be payable to a retired member during the time he or she is employed at a job, the salary of which is derived in whole or in part from public taxation.

B. No pension shall be paid to any eligible widow, whether with or without an eligible child or children, during the time she is employed at a job, the salary of which is derived in whole or in part from public taxation.

C. Any pension payable to anyone entitled thereto shall be reduced or entirely suspended by the amount which and while the recipient or person or persons for whose benefit it is payable is entitled to any pension, grant, aid, payment or contribution by way of pension, old age retirement benefit, unemployment compensation benefit, Social Security benefit, industrial accident benefit, or other benefit; provided that such reduction or suspension shall not reduce the aggregate of the pension payable hereunder plus the amounts of other such benefits payable to such recipient or for the benefit of such person or persons below one hundred and fifty per cent (150%) of the benefits otherwise payable by way of pension hereunder; provided, further, that these provisions for reduction or suspension may at any time be amended or the percentage herein established may be hereafter increased or decreased.

Section 7. Any person who is a member of either the Bureau of Fire or Bureau of Police on April 16, 1945, may voluntarily accept the provisions of this Act, and upon such acceptance in writing, in form prescribed by the Directors, said member and his or her dependents shall cease to be entitled to any benefits whatsoever under the existing pension plans as established by Acts referred to in Section 12 hereof, and shall forfeit all right, title and interest now or hereafter existing in the pension funds established under said Acts.

No member of either Bureau who comes under the provisions of this Act by the voluntary acceptance as above provided shall be entitled to a pension, upon retirement, greater than fifty per cent (50%) of the last current rate of monthly salary of such retiring member unless prior to such retirement such member has served in the Department of Public Safety for at least five (5) years after the voluntary acceptance of the provisions of this Act.

Any present member of either Bureau voluntarily accepting the provisions of this Act as above provided shall receive credit for the prior continuous years of service as a member of either Bureau.

Section 8. Every person who shall become a member of either Department after April 16, 1945 and every present member of either Department voluntarily accepting the provisions of this Act shall be given a certificate setting forth that he or she is entitled to the benefits of this Act and giving the date when he or she became a member of either Department. Said certificate shall be signed by the member and by a majority of the Directors. Said certificate shall be deposited with the City Treasurer and shall be cancelled upon the member ceasing to be a member of either Bureau prior to his or her retirement.

Section 9. The Directors shall from time to time certify to the City Treasurer the name and address of each person entitled to receive payment of benefits under this Act, the amount of such payments, and the name of the member of either Bureau because of whose services such payments are due. The City Treasurer shall make such payments in accordance with the certification of the Directors; provided, however, that no such payments shall be made by the City Treasurer unless there is on deposit with him an uncancelled certificate showing the eligibility for the benefits of this Act of the person because of whose services such payments are due.

Section 10. The right of any person to any payment under this Act shall not be transferable or assignable at law or in equity, and none of the monies paid or payable, or rights existing under this Act shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency laws.

Section 11. The entire cost of the pensions and benefits payable under the provisions of this Act shall be paid by the Mayor and Council of Wilmington.

Section 12. This Act shall not repeal or amend an Act entitled "An Act Providing for a Police Pension Fund for Members of the Police Force of the City of Wilmington", being Chapter 113, Volume 32, Laws of Delaware, approved March 16, A. D. 1921, and amendments thereto, and an Act entitled "An Act. Providing for a Firemen's Pension Fund for Members of the Bureau of Fire of the Department of Public Safety of the City of. Wilmington", being Chapter 118, Volume 33, Laws of Delaware, approved April 5, A. D. 1923, and amendments thereto, except insofar as the rights of members voluntarily accepting the provisions of this Act shall terminate their rights, and those of their dependents, under the provisions of either of the above Acts.

Approved April 16, 1945.