CHAPTER 269

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 423

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO CREATE A VOLUNTEER FIREMEN'S PENSION PLAN AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND FUNDING THEREOF.

WHEREAS, Volunteer Firemen provide a valuable and necessary service to the State of Delaware;

and

WHEREAS, the men and women who perform these valuable services do so on a volunteer basis and receive no monetary compensation for their services: and

WHEREAS, in performing their duties as volunteer firemen they do so under hazardous and often life threatening conditions; and

WHEREAS, the Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association has developed and is recommending a pension plan for long time members of the Association; and

WHEREAS, it is the recommendation of the Association that the Plan be funded entirely by the participating fire companies and its members within the State; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly recognizes its obligation to assist the Volunteer Firemen's Association in developing and implementing this plan.

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 16, Delaware Code, by adding a new Chapter 66A to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 66A. DELAWARE VOLUNTEER FIREMEN'S PENSION PLAN

§6651. Definitions

(a) 'Board' shall mean the Board of Pension Trustees established by §8308, Chapter 83, Title 29, Delaware Code.

(b) 'Member' shall mean an actively participating volunteer of one of the State of Delaware Volunteer Fire Departments, Ladies Auxiliaries thereof and service organizations, providing volunteer ambulance services.

(c) 'Credited Service' shall mean, for any member,

(1) service as a volunteer after June 30, 1986 that has been certified by the employer: and

(2) service as a volunteer prior to July 1, 1986 on the basis of one (I) year of credited service for each three (3) years of service as certified by the employer provided that the member has been actively participating in the organization for the 12 months preceding the effective date of this Act.

(d) 'Fund' shall mean the Fund established by §6661 of this Title.

(c) 'Employer' shall mean the participating State of Delaware Volunteer Fire Departments, Ladies Auxiliaries thereof and service organizations providing volunteer ambulance services.

§6652. Volunteer Firemen's Pension Committee

The Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association shall appoint, from its membership, a nine (9) person Advisory Committee. Three (3) members shall come from New Castle County, three (3) members from Kent County and three (3) members from Sussex County. The Advisory Committee shall make recommendations to the State Board of Pension Trustees on all pension matters the Advisory Committee deems appropriate.

§6653. Attachment and Assignment of Benefits

The benefits provided by this Chapter shall not be subject to garnishment and shall be payable only to the beneficiary designated, and shall not be subject to assignment or transfer.

§6654. Waiver of Benefits

Any individual entitled to any benefits under this Chapter may decline to accept all or any part of such benefits by a waiver signed and filed with the Board. Such waiver may be revoked in writing at any time, but no payment of the benefits waived shall be made covering the period during which such waiver was in effect.

§6655. Eligibility for Pension

(a) A member shall become eligible to receive a pension beginning with the first month after attainment of age 60 if he has 10 years of credited service.

(b) For purposes of this Section, credited service shall include any period during which a member qualifies for benefits under Chapter 67, Title 18, Delaware Code and/or Workman's Compensation.

(c) An inactive member with a vested right to a pension shall become eligible to receive such pension, computed in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter in effect when he ceased to be a member, beginning with the first month after his attainment of age 60.

§6656. Vested Right to Pension

(a) A member who has 10 years of credited service shall have a vested right to a pension.

(b) A member's vested right shall be forfeited upon his application for a refund of his accumulated contributions, and his membership shall be cancelled.

§6657. Payment of Pension

No pension payment shall be made under this Chapter prior to July 1, 1988, thereafter pension payments shall be made beginning with the month in which the member becomes eligible to receive such pension and ending with the month in which he or she dies.

§6658. Amount of Pension

The amount of the monthly pension payable to an eligible member shall be $5.00 times years of credited service up to a maximum of 2S years.

§6659. Death Benefit

Upon the death of a member, inactive member or retired member, there shall be paid to the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries or, in the absence of a designated beneficiary, to the estate of the member, a lump sum equal to the excess. if any, of the accumulated member contributions with interest over the aggregate of all pension payments made.

§6660. Withdrawal Benefit

(a) Upon the withdrawal from service of a member who is not eligible to receive a pension and does not have a vested right to a pension, his or her accumulated contributions with interest shall be paid to his or her employer for final disposition.

(b) Upon the withdrawal from service of a member who is not eligible to receive a pension but has a vested right to a pension, his or her accumulated contributions with interest shall be paid to such member.

(c) if an individual ceases to be a member his service credits to the date of termination shall be cancelled, but shall be restored if he or she again becomes a member provided that if he or she has withdrawn his contributions he or she repays them with interest at a rate determined by the Board.

§6661. Establishment of Fund

There shall be established a Volunteer Firemen's Pension Fund, hereinafter referred to as 'Fund' to which the employer and member contributions shall be deposited annually and to which earnings on investments, any other contributions, gifts, donations. grants, refunds and reimbursements shall be deposited upon receipt and from which benefits shall be paid and fees and expenses authorized by the Board shall be paid.

§6662. Member Contributions

Member contributions to the Fund shall be $60.00 per annum.

§6663. Employer Contributions

(a) The employer's contribution to the Fund for the fiscal year 1986-1987 shall be $250,000,

(b) The employer's contribution to the Fund for the fiscal year 1987-1988 shall be ;250,000,

(c) The employer's contribution to the Fund for fiscal year 1988- 1989, and for each fiscal year thereafter shall be a sum approved by the Board on the basis of the most recent actuarial valuation/

(d) The actuary shall prepare an actuarial valuation of the Assets and Liabilities of the Fund as of June 30, 1988 and each year thereafter. On the basis of reasonable actuarial assumptions and tables approved by the Board, the actuary shall determine the normal cost required to meet the actuarial cost of current service and the unfunded accrued liability."

Section 2. This Act shall be effective July 1, 1986.

Approved May 22, 1986