Borough of Girard, PA
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Girard as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Officers and employees — See Ch. 39.
Salaries and compensation — See Ch. 75.
[Adopted 5-7-1979 by Ord. No. 508 (Ch. I, Part 6A, of the 1974 Code of Ordinances)]

§ 44-1 Establishment.

The Police Pension Plan is hereby established pursuant to the Act of May 29, 1956, P.L. 1804, as amended (53 P.S. § 767 et seq.). Such fund shall be under the direction of the Council of the Borough of Girard and shall be applied under such regulations as Council may prescribe.

§ 44-2 Eligibility.

Each full-time policeman now or hereafter employed by Girard shall be eligible to participate and shall be a participant in the Police Pension Plan.

§ 44-3 Age and service requirements.

[Amended 10-18-1993 by Ord. No. 625]
A. 
Each participant who has been in the employ of the Borough of Girard as a police officer for 25 years in the aggregate and who has attained the age of 50 years may retire and shall, upon his actual retirement from his employment with the Borough of Girard, be entitled to receive pension or retirement benefits as are hereinafter provided.
B. 
Military service. The Police Pension Plan may provide full service credit for each year of military service or fraction thereof, not to exceed five years, to any member of the police force who was not employed by the political subdivision prior to such military service. The amount due for the purchase of credit for military service other than intervening military service shall be computed by using the formula found in Section 4 of Act 600.[1]
[Added 6-16-2003 by Ord. No. 682]
[1]:
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 767 et seq.

§ 44-4 Contribution rate.

[Amended 10-18-1993 by Ord. No. 625; 5-19-2003 by Ord. No. 681]
Under Act 30,[1] members shall pay into the pension fund, monthly, an amount equal to and not less than 5% nor more than 8% of monthly compensation. The Borough Council, on an annual basis, by ordinance or resolution, may reduce or eliminate payments into the fund by members.
[1]:
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 767 et seq.

§ 44-5 Retirement or pension benefits.

[Amended 7-16-1984 by Ord. No. 542; 10-18-1993 by Ord. No. 625; 12-16-1996 by Ord. No. 656]
A. 
The pension or retirement benefits shall be payable during the balance of the participant's life following actual retirement and after fulfillment of the age and service requirements set forth above. The monthly benefit shall be a sum equal to 1/2 of the average total monthly compensation of the participant during the last 36 months of his employment.
B. 
Service increments. Longevity payment may be provided to retired officers for each completed year of service in excess of 25 years. The total service increment may not exceed $100 per month. The amount of each year's service increment must be established by resolution or ordinance.
[Amended 6-16-2003 by Ord. No. 682]
C. 
Cost-of-living increases. A cost-of-living increase in the amount of 2% in the base pension will be granted for a maximum of 15 years for present and retired officers, provided that four requirements are met:
[Amended 6-16-2003 by Ord. No. 682]
(1) 
The cost-of-living increase does not exceed the percentage increase in the consumer price index of the year in which the member last worked;
(2) 
The total police pension benefits do not exceed 75% of the officer's salary for computing retirement benefits;
(3) 
The retired officer's total cost-of-living increase does not exceed 30%;
(4) 
A cost-of-living increase would not impair the actuarial soundness of the pension plan.
D. 
Unused employee pension contributions will be provided to the estate of the retired officer upon death of both the officer and his/her spouse. This does not include accrued interest which remains with the pension system and only includes employee contributions.
E. 
Service-related disability benefit.
[Amended 5-19-2003 by Ord. No. 681]
(1) 
Act 30[1] establishes a monthly service-related disability benefit of no less than 50% of the officer's salary at the time disability was incurred, provided that any member who receives benefits for the same injuries under the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.) shall have his disability benefits offset or reduced by the amount of such benefits. This benefit is not applicable retroactively to officers who have already been honorably discharged with a service-connected disability benefit which is less than 50%.
[1]:
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 767 et seq.
(2) 
Under Act 30, pensions for families of members killed in the line of service are fixed at 100% of the officer's salary, based on the final average (last 36 months) salary at the time of death. In addition, this amendment is not available retroactively for the family of an officer who was killed in the line of duty.

§ 44-6 Widow benefits.

[Amended 9-15-1997 by Ord. No. 661]
A. 
In the event of death of a member who was receiving a pension or disability benefit or who had qualified for a retirement or pension benefit but had not retired, his widow shall be entitled to receive a pension equal to 50% of the pension the member was receiving or would have been receiving had he been retired at the time of his death. The entitlement of the widow shall terminate upon her death or remarriage.
B. 
Act 30[1] sets a minimum survivor benefit of no less than 50% of the pension which the member was receiving or would have received had he been retired at the time of his death. Act 30 eliminates the marriage penalty in that a surviving spouse who remarries does not lose the survivor benefit; it continues on until the death of the surviving spouse. The amendment expressly states that benefits currently granted to surviving spouses whose police officer spouse died on or before the effective date of the Act and who were not remarried as of April 17, 2002, may receive an increased survivor benefit.
[Added 5-19-2003 by Ord. No. 681]
[1]:
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 767 et seq.

§ 44-7 Dependent children benefits.

[Added 5-19-2003 by Ord. No. 681]
Under Act 30,[1] after the death of a surviving spouse, an officer's surviving child or children can receive the fifty-percent-or-greater benefit until age 18 or, if attending college, until the age of 23. Act 30 defines "attending college" as being enrolled in an institution of higher learning and carrying a minimum course load of seven credits per semester. This benefit may also be granted to currently surviving dependent child(ren) if the police officer parent died prior to the effective date of the Act.
[1]:
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 767 et seq.

§ 44-8 Vesting.

[Amended 7-16-1984 by Ord. No. 542]
A. 
Girard Borough shall be the owner of all monies or property paid into the fund or annuities or policies purchased from insurance companies hereunder and the owner and designated beneficiary of any insurance and retirement income contracts acquired hereunder.
B. 
Any participant who, before completing superannuation retirement age and service requirements but after having completed 12 years of total service, for any reason, ceases to be employed as a full-time police officer shall be entitled to vest his retirement benefits by filing with the Council, within 90 days of the date he ceases to be a full-time police officer, a written notice of his intention to vest. Upon reaching the date which would have been his superannuation retirement date if he had continued to be employed as a full-time police officer, he shall be paid a partial superannuation retirement allowance, determined by applying the percentage his years of service bears to the years of service which he would have rendered had he continued to work until his superannuation retirement date to the gross pension, using, however, the monthly average salary during the appropriate period prior to his termination of employment.
C. 
Each participant who has not qualified for vesting, or who has not elected to vest his benefits as provided under Subsection B of this section, shall be entitled in the event of termination or discontinuance of his employment for reasons other than retirement or death to have returned to him the total amount of all such monies paid by him into the pension fund, with interest at the rate of 6% per annum. If such termination or discontinuance of employment is due to death, such refund of money shall be paid to the participant's designated beneficiary or, in the absence thereof, to his estate.
D. 
Under Act 30,[1] if an officer dies prior to vesting his/her pension, the surviving spouse or, if the spouse is deceased, any child or children under the age of 18, or age 23 if attending college, is entitled to 100% of the officer's contributions, together with any interest thereon, unless the officer has designated another beneficiary. This benefit is not available for survivors of an officer who died prior to April 17, 2002.
[Added 5-19-2003 by Ord. No. 681]
[1]:
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 767 et seq.

§ 44-9 Prior pension assets and benefits.

All contracts, agreements or funds held for the purpose of providing pension, annuities or retirement income, or any of them, on any policeman who shall be a participant in the program herein established shall be and hereby are transferred and assigned to the fund herein created. After such transfer, the police pension fund shall assume the liability, if any, of continuing the payment of pensions to members of the police force retired prior to such transfer in accordance with the laws and regulations under which such members where retired. Any pension payments to any participant under the Girard Borough Non-Uniform Employees Pension Plan shall be offset against the pension payable to such participant under the Police Pension Plan.

§ 44-10 Administration.

The police pension fund herein provided for shall be administered by trustees under a pension trust agreement exhibited and hereby incorporated by reference. To said trustees shall be paid all sums received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on account of tax on premiums of foreign casualty insurance companies or other state funds for police pensions, all payments which may be made from time to time by police officers, all sums which may be contributed by the Borough and all other amounts which may lawfully form a part of such a trust.

§ 44-11 Execution of trust agreement.

Authority is hereby conferred upon the Mayor and Secretary to enter into and execute on behalf of the Borough of Girard the pension trust agreement exhibited and hereby incorporated by reference. Council is further authorized to provide for the payment to the trustees of such monies from the general funds of the Borough as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the trust in the event that monies received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other sources are insufficient.

§ 44-12 Military leave.

[Added 5-19-2003 by Ord. No. 681]
Any employee who is a member of a retirement system at the time he is granted a military leave of absence is entitled to exercise any one of the following options:
A. 
An employee can continue to make regular payments into the pension fund during the period of his military leave of absence. The amount of such payments shall be the same as they would have been had the employee not been granted military leave of absence, but had instead remained actively employed. The time of making such payment must be mutually agreed upon by the employee and the pension fund of which he is a member, but in no event may be less frequent than semiannually. The employer must make its contributions on the same basis as is used to compute the employee's contributions. In this case, his retirement rights must be determined on the basis that he was in the active, continuous, and uninterrupted employ of his employer for the period during which he was on military leave of absence.
B. 
The employee may discontinue making payments into the fund during the period of his military leave of absence. In such event, the employer must also discontinue making its contributions during this period. In this case, retirement rights must be determined by completely disregarding the period of his military leave of absence for all purposes.
C. 
In exercising the first option (Subsection A of this section), the employee must, within 60 days of commencing military service, notify the Borough Manager of his or her desire to do so. Any employee who does not exercise the first option (Subsection A) will be deemed to have exercised the second option (Subsection B of this section).
D. 
Any employee who has exercised the second option (Subsection B) but who, upon the expiration of his military leave of absence, resumes employment and desires to receive the benefits of the first option (Subsection A) shall have the right to receive such benefits if he:
(1) 
Gives written notice to the Borough Manager, within six months after he returns to his employment, of his desire to receive the benefits of the first option (Subsection A); or
(2) 
Pays into the retirement fund an amount equal to the total payments he would have made had he exercised the first option (Subsection A).
E. 
Act 600[1] further provides that police officers employed for at least six months with the Police Department must be given credit for pension purposes for time spent on military leave if he or she returns to the Department within six months after the end of such service.
(1) 
Act 600, which applies to municipal police officers only, predates the Pennsylvania Military Code,[2] which applies to all Pennsylvania public and private employers.
[2]:
Editor's Note: See 51 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
(2) 
Although there is no case law directly on point, presumably Act 600 does not exempt police officers from requirements of the Military Code that pension contributions be made in order for military leave time to be counted toward years of service for pension calculation purposes.
[1]:
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 767 et seq.