POLICE OFFICERS' AND FIREFIGHTERS' PENSION REFORM COMMISSION
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10:03 AM -- Public Testimony
Kevin Bommer, representing the Colorado Municipal League (CML), said that the CML is likely to support or be neutral on the four bills that have been recommended by the commission. He said that it is appropriate that the FPPA have the level of scrutiny that the commission provides. He said that FPPA trust funds are 100% funded on an actuarial basis in spite of recent market downturns. He added that the admirable performance of the FPPA is due in part to "safety valves" that have been built into the FPPA plan.
Dino Ross, representing the law firm Ireland Stapleton, said that he is present on behalf of his law firm and not on behalf of a client. He said that a significant portion of his law practice is representation of volunteer fire departments, and that his comments will address the Colorado Volunteer Firefighter Pension Fund Act. He distributed a handout to the members of the commission (Attachment E). He said that he is recommending several technical changes to Colorado statutes addressing the volunteer firefighter plans.
He commented on a proposal to amend Section 31-30-1102 (9)(b), C.R.S., relating to the definition of the term "compensation" to include salary lost as a consequence of actual firefighting duties causing the absence of the volunteer firefighter from normal employment. He commented on a federal ruling regarding such compensation. He spoke further in regard to the importance of the state's compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and noted that attorneys fees are awarded under the act. He described four proposed statutory changes proposed to the commission. He commented on a proposal to amend Section 31-30-1105 (1) (c), C.R.S., addressing provisions of the Special District Act that result in vacant seats on fire protection district boards. Mr. Ross commented on a proposal to amend Section 31-30-1119, C.R.S. that mandates that a biannual report from pension boards to municipal governing bodies or fire protection district boards of directors. He said that most pension boards are unaware of this statutory requirement, and that the reports are unnecessary.
Finally, Mr. Ross commented on a proposed amendment to Section 31-30-1113, C.R.S. He said that under the Volunteer Firefighter Pension Act pension funds that are not covered by the FPPA are self-directed. He noted that the statutes allow the treasurer of the fire district or municipality to work with a qualified financial institution to handle the investments of these pension funds. He pointed out that current law requires that these investments be made in conformance with requirements of prudent investor statutes, but also imposes further requirements relating to holding fixed income investments in a portion of the portfolio. He said that these additional statutory requirements are superfluous, impose vague requirements regarding pension fund investments, and should be repealed.
The commission members discussed the idea of moving forward with commission legislation incorporating Mr. Ross's proposed statutory changes. Senator Morse said that he would be willing to be the prime sponsor of such a bill.
The committee meeting adjourned.