Bill S5909-2013

Establishes a temporary task force on the variable supplements fund program

Establishes a temporary task force on the variable supplements fund program to make findings and recommendations.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CIVIL SERVICE AND PENSIONS
  • Jun 26, 2013: REFERRED TO RULES

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5909

TITLE OF BILL: An act establishing a temporary task force on variable supplements fund

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of the bill is to establish a task force to make a final determination of whether or not disabled NYPD and FDNY retirees are entitled to receive VSF supplementation benefits.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Legislative intent.

Section 2: Subsection 1: Creates the temporary task force to be known as the temporary task force on the variable supplements fund.

Subsection 2: Gives the task force the power to conduct public hearings, issue subpoenas for and to compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, documents and other relevant evidence in order to recommend legislation consistent with the purposes of this section.

Subsection 3: The task force shall be consisted of 7 members appointed by the Governor as follows: one member appointed on the recommendation of: The Temporary President of the Senate; the Speaker of the Assembly; the Minority Leader of the Senate; the Minority Leader of the Assembly; the Mayor of the City of New York; and one member who shall represent the interest of the affected disability retirees, to be designated by the chair. The Governor shall designate the chair. In addition to these members, the comptroller of NYC & the president of the uniformed fire-fighters association of greater NY (or their designees) shall serve as non-voting members. Four members shall constitute a quorum. Members shall receive no compensation but members who are not governmental employees shall be reimbursed for their reasonable expenses incurred during the performance of their duties.

Subsection 4: Within one year of this act becoming law, the temporary task force shall issue its report containing its findings and recommendations.

Section 3: This act shall take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION: The variable supplements fund (VSF) program was enacted in 1970 to provide supplementation to the retirement allowances of New York city police and fire retirement system members. Since the enactment of the legislation establishing the VSF program, much controversy has been generated by the exclusion of disability retirees for eligibility of the benefit.

The lack of clarity in defining VSF eligibility and the exclusion of most disabled police and firefighters has been a cause of much frustration and confusion for disability petitioners. The existing documentation regarding VSF eligibility is inconclusive, prompting the need for a task force to make a final determination.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.9842 of 1992 (Straniere) - referred to governmental employees, amended and recommitted to governmental employees

A.7476 of 2013 (Garbarino) - referred to governmental employees

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5909 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE June 26, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT establishing a temporary task force on variable supplements fund THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative intent. The variable supplements fund (VSF) program was enacted in 1970 to provide supplementation to the retirement allowance of New York city police and fire retirement system members. Since the enactment of the legislation establishing the VSF program, much controversy has been generated by the exclusion of disability reti- rees from eligibility for the benefit. Although a small number of New York city disability retirees were permitted to receive VSF supplementa- tion benefits as a result of technical correction legislation approved during previous years, the lack of clarity in defining VSF eligibility and the continued exclusion of most disabled firefighters from receipt of this benefit has been a cause of much frustration and confusion for disability pensioners. While it is recognized that any amendment to the VSF will require careful study and consideration of the issues involved, the legisla- ture's interest in ensuring fairness and equity demand such review. Because the legislature does not accept this responsibility lightly, it hereby declares that the establishment of a temporary task force, to be known as the temporary task force on the variable supplements fund, is both warranted and required. S 2. 1. A temporary task force, to be known as the temporary task force on the variable supplements fund, is hereby created to examine and investigate such issues as are related to the exclusion of disability pensioners from the VSF. 2. The temporary task force shall have the power to: (a) conduct public hearings in furtherance of the performance of its duties under this act;
(b) issue subpoenas for and to compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, documents and other relevant evidence; and (c) to recommend legislation consistent with the purposes of this section. 3. The task force shall consist of seven members appointed by the governor as follows: (a) one member appointed on the recommendation of the temporary presi- dent of the senate; (b) one member appointed on the recommendation of the speaker of the assembly; (c) one member appointed on the recommendation of the minority leader of the senate; (d) one member appointed on the recommendation of the minority leader of the assembly; (e) one member appointed on the recommendation of the mayor of the city of New York; (f) one member appointed on the recommendation of the state comp- troller; and (g) one member who shall represent the interest of the affected disa- bility retirees and who shall be designated by the chair. From among such seven members, the governor shall designate the chair. In addition to such six voting members, the president of the uniformed firefighters association of greater New York or his or her designee and the comptroller of the city of New York or his or her designee shall serve as non-voting members. Four voting members of the temporary task force shall, at all times, constitute a quorum. Members shall receive no compensation for their services; members (including non-voting members) who are not governmental employees shall be reimbursed for their reason- able expenses incurred during the performance of their duties. Notwith- standing any inconsistent provision of any general, special or local law, no officer or employee of the state or of any political subdivision thereof shall forfeit his or her office or employment by reason of acceptance of appointment to the temporary task force. 4. Within one year of this act becoming law, the temporary task force shall issue a report containing such findings and recommendations regarding the eligibility of disability pensioners of New York city to receive supplemental payments from the VSF and any other matters relat- ing thereto. Such report shall be transmitted to the governor, the comp- troller, the chair of the Senate civil service and pensions committee and the chair of the assembly governmental employees committee. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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