February 22, 2021
Some of you may have heard that we (DPROA) were circulating language that would amend our Pension Bill. Working with our lobbyist, we did draft two proposed changes. The first would have addressed the issue of surviving spouses of members with DROP Annuities not having the right to ask for an emergency lump sum distribution. This right currently extends only to the member. The second proposed change would use the ruling of the Texas Supreme Court in its response to the questions posed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on the Degan Case, to strike all language related to “Equity Adjustments.” We believe the Texas Supreme Court clearly settles the issue that any retroactive reduction in benefits would invoke the protection provided by section XVI, 66 of the Texas Constitution. In preparation for this action we began contacting leaders of other associations to seek their support. We knew that this legislative session was going to be extremely difficult to get anything passed due to the number of major issues facing our legislators, and it would be even more difficult, if we were to run into opposition from our fellow associations. After consultation with association leaders, we have decided to table this action until the legislative session of 2023. In the interim we believe we may be able to accomplish correcting the survivor issue at the local level, and if not, we will address it in 2023.
During the February meeting of the DP&FPS Board of Trustees, the board voted to allow the system to pursue legislative changes necessary to enable the staff to join the Texas Municipal Retirement System. This does not approve the move, but merely removes legislative obstacles that currently exist to such a move. The trustees continue to wait for a “Peer Review” which staff has been promising for months. We will continue to monitor this process and keep you informed. I would encourage anyone interested in learning more about this process or anything else related to your pension to go to the Dallas Police and Fire Pension site, click on Board and go to minutes. Since the board now meets via Zoom there is a recording of the meeting posted as the minutes.
Crista continues to process your dues payments and deposit them in the bank. Like all of you, she has life’s issues to deal with as well, and it does not help to have a major winter storm interrupt everything by dumping snow over the entire North Texas Region. So please be patient, she will get everyone’s checks deposited. Next November, we will start reminding anyone who has not already done so, to sign up for auto deduction of dues from your monthly pension check. You simply complete the “Authorization Agreement for Deductions” form and return it to the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System. They will deduct your monthly dues amount each month from your check and you never have to worry about dues renewal again. The DP&FP deposits your dues payment directly to our bank, notes your payment on your monthly Payroll Advice and sends DPROA a deposit receipt. Crista records your payments and the entire process becomes much more streamlined.