The Washington State Council of Firefighters (WSCFF) has sent out a letter to approximately 6,800 LEOFF 1 members. It is a recruitment letter along with a DRS payroll deduction form for a $6.00 per month deduction or $72.00 per year. The dues are equal to 25 percent of an active firefighter’s dues. The letter was intended to reach retired Firefighters but was sent to retired police officers as well.
WSCFF now has a retiree association—a committee with three retired L-1 firefighters.
This session WSCFF had a bill introduced to provide benefits to all L-2 members working and retired. The bill included a defined benefit payment from the LEOFF 2 fund based on years of service. For example, the formula would calculate a payment of $30,000 for twenty-five years of service and $36,000.00 for thirty years of service.
They did not include retired members of the L-1 Retirement System. They even opposed an attempt to include L-1 members in their bill. Then after we had a bill introduced that included L-1 and L-2 WSCFF wanted a separate standalone bill for L-1.
This issue and some other items confused the members of the Senate Way & Means committee and the committee requested that the stakeholders meet and resolve their concerns. We did meet via ZOOM on Tuesday, January 25th and that meeting had attendance from all the principal L-1 groups, WSCFF and Senators Conway and Schoesler. It was agreed at that meeting to amend SB 5791 to make it a standalone LEOFF 1 bill.
The amended bill has been submitted to Ways & Means and will be heard in Executive Session at 4 PM, January 31st. (See https://tvw.org/video/senate-ways-means-committee-2022011624/?eventID=2022011624 on at 4 PM on January 31st.)
See https://app.leg.wa.gov/committeeschedules/Home/Documents/29667# to see the proposed amendments.
Obviously, the attempt to recruit Retired Firefighters of Washington member to the new WSCFF retired group has caused some consternation. At this point it is probably best to let those two organizations try to settle their disagreement. We are concentrating on getting the two bills, SB 5652 and SB 5791 passed. The support of both of those organizations is crucial in that effort.
We are currently writing a review of both bills and providing information to assist you in expressing your support to the legislature. If it is not already on the site please check back in a couple of hours.Follow us on Facebook