The General Assembly has passed three bills amending the civil service provisions of the First Class Township Code, Borough Code and Third Class City Code. Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law the amendments to the First Class Township and Third Class City Codes, and is expected to sign the amendment to the Borough Code.
Tucked away in Act 44 of 2009, landmark legislation intended to relieve the significant financial strain on municipalities throughout Pennsylvania, in particular Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the General Assembly imposed a set of best-practices standards on every municipal pension plan in the Commonwealth. Act 44 contains sweeping changes for the use of professionals by municipal pension systems by imposing substantial selection procedures and disclosure requirements. Chapter 7-A of Act 44 mandates an open competitive selection process for any and all professional services contracts when the municipal pension system is a party. Basically, any entity receiving money from a municipal pension fund, such as actuaries, fund custodians, fund managers, plan advisors and other professional consultants, going forward, may be retained only after being selected through a competitive process. Furthermore, under Act 44, the “most qualified” bidder must be selected. Finally, Act 44 contains conflict-of-interest standards, restrictions on political contributions, and annual disclosure requirements.
This article explains the mandates of the new Act and provides a checklist of tasks necessary for compliance by a municipality.Continue Reading Best-Practices Standards Imposed on Pennsylvania Municipal Pension Systems
On October 9, 2009, Gov. Rendell signed into law Act 51 of 2009 (“Act 51”), which removed the 100 percent Killed-in-Service benefit from Act 600 and created a similar but not identical benefit under the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act (“Death Benefits Act”), 53 P.S. § 891 et seq. While the Death Benefits Act creates a 100 percent survivor benefit for firefighters, ambulance service or rescue squad members, and police officers who die in the line of duty, only borough and township police officers, under Act 600, previously had a Killed-in-Service benefit guaranteed by state pension law. This article is limited to the interplay between Act 600 and Act 51. While a cursory reading of the new law suggests a limited change to the existing benefit, Act 51 significantly impacts the current benefit available to surviving spouses and creates challenges for municipal employers in eliminating the now-illegal benefit from an Act 600 Pension Plan. This brief analysis reviews the Act 600 survivor benefits available prior to the passage of Act 51, the new benefit created by Act 51, and identifies the issues that must be addressed in order to transition safely to the new Act 51 benefit.Continue Reading In Passing Act 51, the Commonwealth Assumes the Financial Burden of the Act 600 Killed-in-Service Benefit