November 18, 2020
Hello DPROA Members,
Last week was full of meetings and that means I have a lot to cover today. Our DPROA Board met on Wednesday, November 11th at the DPA. Our Lobbyist advises that Dade Phalen from Orange, Texas will be our next Speaker of the House. As soon as committee chairs are appointed and members are assigned, we will be headed to Austin, either in person or virtually. It is important for DPROA to make ourselves known to the legislators. This upcoming legislative session will be especially challenging given the restrictions made necessary by the pandemic.
I am sorry to report that we have reached the point where we have to drop some of our members for non-payment of dues. We have called, emailed, written and even sent letters via certified mail to ensure they were aware their dues were delinquent. At this point they are almost a full year over due. I truly hate to deny anyone the opportunity to fight for their earned and accrued benefits, but our “Contractual Agreement for Legal Services” is very clear that all participants must keep their dues current for the duration of the lawsuit. As a result we are removing these individuals from our membership and representation in the annual adjustment lawsuit. While we are on the subject of dues, let me remind everyone that we are approaching the January renewal period. This would be a good time for anyone not already using the auto deduction through the pension system to start. You can go to the DP&FP website, go to Forms, then to Authorization Agreement for Deductions to download the form. You do not have to log in. Complete it and mail it in to start auto deduction of your monthly dues from your pension check. You will never have to worry about renewing dues again.
We are making preparations for our 2021 elections. The voting takes place in February, with swearing in ceremony taking place in March. During this cycle we will be selecting a President, Secretary, Board Members Place 1 and Place 3. You may also recall, that last year when our Treasurer was up for re-election, no one ran for her position. Crista graciously agreed to continue in her position until we could find someone to replace her. Crista has done a magnificent job organizing the books and streamlining the processes, so it will be much easier for anyone following behind her. The DPROA Constitution gives the President the authority to appoint a member (without an election) to fill the unexpired term of a board member. In this instance the term would last until March of 2022. If anyone is interested in the Treasurer’s position, it is available by appointment in addition to the four elected offices. It is possible some of our incumbents will run again, but we will not know until closer to election time. Please be giving some thought to running for one of these positions.
There is not a lot to report on the status of the Annual Adjustment Lawsuit. All of the briefs have been submitted and we are awaiting the ruling from the Texas Supreme Court. Hopefully that will come soon. I will inform you as soon as we have more information.
On Thursday, November 12, 2020, the DP&FP Board conducted their monthly board meeting as well as the Public Meeting required by HB 3158. This was a virtual meeting conducted on the Zoom platform. Jeff Williams from Segal Consulting presented the Annual Valuation Summary as of January 2020, and it is not a pretty picture. With the lowering of our expected rate of return from 7.25% to 7.00% our unfunded liability is not expected to be corrected for 55 years. This is up from 38 years in 2019. I recommend that everyone go to the DP&FP website and click on Board, then Agendas, Public Meeting, and read through the Valuation Summary. It was obvious the Trustees are getting worried about the continued downward trend the pension is heading. They have asked the staff to start developing a communication plan for use in answering the tough questions that will undoubtedly be coming from State Legislators who were told that HB 3158 was a fix. One of the trustees reported that he has spoken to several legislators, and without exception, they all believed the pension was fixed. The trustees also suggested the pension system’s lobbyist start educating the legislators on the reasons for the plan’s poor performance. It appears the only real accomplishment of HB 3158 was the stripping of earned and accrued benefits from actives and retirees, all for the purpose of letting the Plan Sponsor (City of Dallas) off the hook. As I previously stated, the DPROA will have a presence in Austin to watch out for retirees.
The Texas Pension Review Board also met on November 12th. Anyone interested in hearing about their recommended legislative changes for this session, as well as the 2023 session, can find it at:
https://www.prb.texas.gov/about/board/board-meetings/ and click on the November 12, 2020 meeting. It is a virtual Zoom Meeting. The legislative changes they are proposing for 2021 is detailed starting at the 18 minute mark, but to briefly summarize, they propose changing Sect. 802.2011 of the Government Code to include the plan sponsors (City Councils) in the process of developing the required Funding Soundness Restoration Plans, when systems exceed the 40 year trigger for full funding. They also plan to recommend reducing the 40 year trigger to a 30 year trigger. This will be problematic for DP&FP since we are looking at 55 years to fund. Later, at the 2 hour mark, Keith Brainard, Chair of the Actuarial Committee, requests Pension Review Board Staff to conduct a study of Texas Pension Governance in preparation for recommended changes to be proposed in the 2023 legislature.
That pretty much covers everything. I hope that in spite of the pandemic you find a way to celebrate Thanksgiving, but whatever you do, do it safely and protect your health.
Dallas Police Retired Officers Association