[HISTORY: Adopted by the Levy Court of Kent County as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-10-2006 by Ord. No. 06-38]
This article is adopted pursuant to the powers conferred upon the Levy Court of Kent County, Delaware (hereafter "Levy Court") in 9 Del. C. § 4323. The Levy Court shall administer the Kent County Retiree Benefits Program and shall be vested with all the rights, duties and authority typically reserved for the administration of such a program, including but not limited to determination or selection of investment policy(s), fund allocation(s), investment consultant(s), fund manager(s), investment structure, fund trustee(s), investment type(s), fund administrator(s), and fund contribution(s).
This article shall be known as the "Kent County Retiree Benefits Program."
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACTIVE SERVICE
- Employment with the County on a continuing full-time basis without interruption, except allowable interruptions, up to the date of retirement.
- CONTINUOUS EMPLOYMENT
- Service without interruption, except allowable interruptions.
- COVERED EMPLOYEE
- A classified, unclassified, or elected employee who receives a regular salary directly from Kent County and receives or is eligible to receive County paid benefits.
- COVERED EMPLOYMENT
- Regular employment as a covered employee with Kent County for more than 1,800 hours in any one calendar year.
- An employee shall be disabled for purposes of this article if he qualifies for and receives disability benefits under the Kent County Long-Term Disability Program. Said disability shall cease when Long-Term Disability Program benefits terminate or the employee becomes eligible to collect County retirement benefits.
- PLAN YEAR
- The fiscal year.
- POST-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
- Such benefits may include health/medical insurance, Medicare supplement, dental insurance, and any other benefits deemed appropriate by the Levy Court.
Editor's Note: The definition of “Rule of 70,” which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 5-12-2009 by Ord. No. 09-08.
Words of the masculine gender include the feminine and the neuter, and when the sense so indicates words of the neuter may refer to any gender.
A current employee retiring from active service with a County pension shall be eligible for post-employment benefits within the meaning of this article, except as otherwise provided.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by Ord. No. 09-08]
An employee who shall become disabled while actively employed and covered under a County-provided long-term disability insurance shall be eligible as defined in this article to participate in a Medicare supplement coverage when eligible and if offered.
At the time of the establishment of the tax rate, the Levy Court may include, in addition to an amount for active employees' salaries or wages, the amounts for those employees who are carried on the retiree benefits listing, plus the amount for those employees who might become eligible for retiree benefits during the period covered in such budget.
The Levy Court shall have the sole authority to design, develop, determine and implement benefit plan enhancements, reductions, and any other changes that it deems appropriate.
The Levy Court shall only be liable for payment from the trust fund of such benefit premiums as it shall determine appropriate during the annual budget approval process.
The Levy Court may establish and collect in advance such monthly premiums as it deems appropriate to provide medical/health and other benefits to eligible retirees and/or their eligible dependents. Said premiums shall be deducted from the retiree's monthly pension payment, unless otherwise approved by the Plan Administrator.
The Levy Court may approve direct payments to eligible retirees/former employees and their eligible dependents for the purchase of specific postemployment benefits or for waiving same.
Upon the death of any person receiving or eligible to receive benefits under this article, such benefits will terminate. Any dependent may be eligible for continuation of coverage at such premium and lengths of time as determined by Levy Court and/or as provided under law.
All official records of whatever kind or character received or to be received by the Personnel Office on related benefit matters shall be kept as all other official employee records of the office are preserved.
The Personnel Administration Board shall be responsible for settling any disagreement that may arise out of the administration of this article by the Personnel Director. The Board shall adjudicate such disagreement within 30 days of the date of receipt of a written appeal, at a time and place to be fixed by the Board, after due notice in writing to all interested parties at least 10 days prior to the date of hearing. The Board may administer oaths and conduct such acts and make such rules as it deems necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this article. The written concurring decision of any four members shall be final.
The benefits provided by this article shall not be subject to attachment or execution, shall be payable only to or on behalf of the eligible person and/or eligible dependents, and shall not be subject to assignment or transfer except as may otherwise be provided by law.
The Levy Court hereby establishes a Retiree Benefits Trust Fund which shall be irrevocable such that it may be used only for the purpose of paying the benefits provided for under this article and related administrative costs.
An actuary shall at least biennially review the trust fund and shall report to the Levy Court whether any additional sums of money are needed to keep the fund actuarially sound so that sufficient funds will always be available to pay the benefits provided for under this article.
The Levy Court may annually appropriate to the Retiree Benefits Trust Fund such sums as the actuary deems necessary to properly maintain the fund.
The Levy Court may from time to time enhance or reduce the benefits across the board for current recipients and/or eliminate such benefits for future retirees.
The Levy Court may choose to contribute such sums as determined by the actuary to establish eligibility or increase the benefit amount for specific individuals determined deserving by it.
Contributions to the Retiree Benefits Trust Fund shall be irrevocable until all current and future obligations of said trust have been satisfied.
The Levy Court may assume the below set forth rights and responsibilities of a trustee or select a trustee to administer and/or invest the money in the Retiree Benefits Trust Fund who:
Shall receive such sums as shall be paid to the trustee under the plan.
Shall pay benefits from a fund as directed by the Levy Court and shall be fully protected in doing so.
Shall keep account of all transactions that shall be open to inspection and audited by persons designated by the Levy Court.
Shall not be liable for any loss to the fund or any act done or omitted by the trustee unless due to his own negligence, willful misconduct or lack of good faith.
The trustee(s) acting as a "prudent man" shall in his discretion invest principal and accumulated income without restriction to legal investments and without distinction between principal and income as provided in an approved investment policy, and any subsequent amendments. The trustee(s) may hold investments in nominee or bearer.
The Levy Court may amend or terminate its contract with a trustee(s), provided that the amendments affecting the trustee(s) shall require his consent and no termination or amendment shall divert any part of the fund to any purpose other than the exclusive benefit of employees or their beneficiaries, and no amendment shall divest any vested benefit.
The trustee shall be compensated in accordance with his schedule of rates in effect from time to time during the period in which his services are rendered and as agreed to by the Levy Court and the trustee.
Within 90 days after each plan year or upon his removal or resignation, the trustee shall file with the Levy Court an account of its administration of the fund during such year or for the end of the preceding plan year to the date of removal or resignation.
The trustee(s) may resign by written notice to the County government that shall be effective 60 days after delivery. The trustee(s) may be removed by the Levy Court by written notice to the trustee(s), which shall be effective 30 days after delivery. On resignation or removal, the trustee(s) shall deliver the funds to his successor as soon as notified in writing by the Levy Court that a successor has been named, provided that this shall not waive any liens the trustee(s) may have upon the fund for his compensation or expenses.
In the event Levy Court acts as trustee, the Levy Court shall appoint one or more custodians to hold a portion or all of the assets of the trust and to perform such functions as are customarily vested in custodians by law as directed by Levy Court. Further, the Levy Court may delegate any subset of its authorities or responsibilities set forth in this article to appropriate entities, including but not limited to investment managers and advisors.
The Pension Review Committee and any successor group established in the Kent County Code shall regularly review the investment performance of the Retiree Benefits Trust Fund. The Committee may make recommendations to the Levy Court regarding plan amendments, investment policies, investment strategies, professional fund manager(s) or trustee(s), investment advisor(s), etc. The Personnel Office shall provide administrative support for the Committee, and the Personnel Director shall administer the provisions of this article as the Plan Administrator.
Nothing contained herein and no act or omission authorized hereby shall constitute a waiver of immunity from suit set forth in Chapter 40 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code.
In the event that a covered employee resigns, is terminated, or dies before meeting his vesting requirement(s) or is determined to be ineligible for Kent County pension benefits, he shall be deemed as having agreed to forfeit any rights to retiree benefits and the Personnel Administration Board shall, as necessary, have the power to terminate all rights of an individual and all persons claiming benefits through him under this article.
In the event a former employee receiving benefits under this article is reemployed as a covered employee in covered employment, postemployment benefits shall cease, but shall be reinstated should such eligible active employment with the County subsequently terminate.