COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Hazardous Duty Employees VRS Retirement Option (formerly VRS LEOs)
Adoption of a resolution to increase the retirement multiplier for employees providing hazardous duties on behalf of the County
Messrs. Tucker, Elliott, Davis, Breeden
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
August 1, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
Legislation enacted by the 2007 Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1166) provides localities the option to increase the VRS retirement benefits for employees performing hazardous duties (formerly the Law Enforcement Officers Retirement System). Eligible employees include those deemed to provide hazardous duties in the Police Department, the Fire Rescue Department, and the Sheriff’s Office. In addition, this option is available and may be considered by the Regional Jail Authority for its eligible employees.
This matter was considered previously by the Board at its June 6, 2007 meeting. It was pulled from the Consent Agenda and the Board asked that it be considered again at a later meeting.
Fund the Future.
The amendment to Virginia Code § 51.1-206, effective July 1, 2007, provides a locality the option to adopt a resolution to increase the retirement Multiplier used by VRS from 1.70 percent to 1.85 percent for eligible employees performing hazardous duties. This change would impact approximately 240 employees in the Police Department, the Fire Rescue Department, and the Sheriff’s Office. The VRS Multiplier factor times the years of service times the average final salary determines an employee’s retirement income and has the potential to increase retirement income for eligible retirees by 8 to 10%. Once adopted by the County, this option cannot be revoked and will apply to all current and future County employees meeting the eligibility criteria. The increased retirement Multiplier of 1.85 percent can apply only to eligible employees who retire on or after July 1, 2007.
To date, twenty-five (25) jurisdictions participating in the VRS defined benefit plan have adopted this option including the counties of Henrico, Chesterfield, Goochland, and Spotsylvania. Since the County of Albemarle competes with these peer jurisdictions for employees performing these duties, adoption of this measure could serve as a means for the County to remain competitive with its peers in this market. In addition, public safety leaders have been working to develop initiatives to retain experienced and knowledgeable employees in order to reduce turnover and curtail costs associated with recruiting and training. The increase in VRS benefits is an excellent incentive for younger as well as veteran public safety personnel to continue their careers with the County and could also serve as a valuable tool for recruiting new individuals to serve the County in these vital roles.
Approval of this change would result in an increase to our overall VRS rate by 0.47%. The new rate would be 13.43% instead of the 12.96% budgeted for FY08. The cost of this change currently would be approximately $142,000 in annual reoccurring expense. Implementing the change effective January 1, 2008 would result in a FY08 impact of one-half that amount, approximately $71,000.
In recognition of the hazardous duties performed by County Police, Fire/Rescue, and Sheriff’s Office personnel, it is recommended that the Board adopt the attached Resolution establishing a 1.85 VRS Multiplier for all eligible employees performing hazardous duties on behalf of the County of Albemarle effective January 1, 2008.
A – ResolutionB – VRS Informational Sheet