Galesburg Reporter

Galesburg Reporter

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

City of Galesburg Fire Pension Fund Board of Trustees met May 13

By Kristine Gonzales-Abella | Aug 9, 2019


City of Galesburg Fire Pension Fund Board of Trustees met May 13.

Here is the minutes provided by the board:

Call to order by President Jim Pendergast at 8:00 a.m.

Present: Kelli Bennewitz, Jim Pendergast, John Seitz, and Mike Whitson. Absent: Marv Dahlberg. Others present: Abby Slagel and Joe Brignall.

Discussion was held on the request from Firefighter Michael McDorman for an estimate to purchase past military time. A fee of $300 would be charged to the Pension Fund from Lauterbach & Amen to provide the estimate.

Kelli Bennewitz noted that she contacted comparable pension fund boards regarding their policy on paying for the estimate. She noted that while most have their City Treasurer perform the calculation at no cost, those that do have to go outside the organization do pay for the estimate.

John Seitz moved, seconded by Mike Whitson, to approve the expenditure to Lauterbach & Amen in the amount of $300 for them to figure the estimate for McDorman, provided McDorman talks to the City Clerk’s office regarding the logistics of the buyback. The motion carried.

It was noted that Policies & Procedures should be adopted by the board explaining the process and request of military buyback, as well as the Pension Board’s responsibility and payment for the process. An item will be added to the next regular meeting agenda.

A discussion was held on off-duty disability should the issue arise with a request to the Pension Board.

Kelli Bennewitz distributed the following information from the Pension Code:

§ 4-111. Disability pension--Not in duty. A firefighter having at least 7 years of creditable service who becomes disabled as a result of any cause other than an act of duty, and who is found, pursuant to Section 4-112, to be physically or mentally permanently disabled so as to render necessary his or her being placed on disability pension, shall be granted a disability pension of 50% of the monthly salary attached to the rank held by the firefighter in the fire service at the date he or she is removed from the municipality's fire department payroll. If a firefighter dies while still disabled and receiving a disability pension under this Section, the disability pension shall continue to be paid to the firefighter's survivors in the sequence provided in Section 4-114 if that disability pension is greater than the survivors pension provided under subsection (a) of Section 4-114.

§ 4-112. Determination of disability; restoration to active service; disability cannot constitute cause for discharge. A disability pension shall not be paid until disability has been established by the board by examinations of the firefighter at pension fund expense by 3 physicians selected by the board and such other evidence as the board deems necessary. The 3 physicians selected by the board need not agree as to the existence of any disability or the nature and extent of a disability. Medical examination of a firefighter receiving a disability pension shall be made at least once each year prior to attainment of age 50 in order to verify continuance of disability. No examination shall be required after age 50. No physical or mental disability that constitutes, in whole or in part, the basis of an application for benefits under this Article may be used, in whole or in part, by any municipality or fire protection district employing firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics as cause for discharge.

Upon satisfactory proof to the board that a firefighter on the disability pension has recovered from disability, the board shall terminate the disability pension. The firefighter shall report to the marshal or chief of the fire department, who shall thereupon order immediate reinstatement into active service, and the municipality shall immediately return the firefighter to its payroll, in the same rank or grade held at the date he or she was placed on disability pension. If the firefighter must file a civil action against the municipality to enforce his or her mandated return to payroll under this paragraph, then the firefighter is entitled to recovery of reasonable court costs and attorney's fees.

The firefighter shall be entitled to 10 days notice before any hearing or meeting of the board at which the question of his or her disability is to be considered, and shall have the right to be present at any such hearing or meeting, and to be represented by counsel; however, the board shall not have any obligation to provide such fireman with counsel.

Bennewitz also noted that she has drafted an Application for Disability for the Pension Fund should someone request one.

Public Comment – None.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:45 a.m.

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City of Galesburg