Respond4AZPolice Press Conference

PRESS CONFERENCE, March 23rd

ARIZONA COPS AND FIRE FIGHTERS SPEAK OUT:

SB 1609 HURTS PUBLIC SAFETY

PHOENIX – First responders from public safety and law enforcement associations across Arizona are voicing their aversion to SB 1609, a pension bill moving through the Legislature. The bill would force pay cuts upon police officers and fire fighters. It also would end for 15 to 20years the cost of living allowances public safety retirees depend on to pay their bills.

The average public safety employee in Arizona earns about $39,000 per year, according to estimates.

While they may wear different uniforms, members of the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona (PFFA), the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police (AZFOP), the Arizona Police Association (APA), the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association (PPSLA) and the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs (AZCOPS) stand unified in their goal: To protect the people of Arizona. And while taxpayers have long valued public safety, the same cannot be said of lawmakers who threaten to raise pension contributions and gut the middle-class benefits so many public safety retirees depend on to make ends meet.

The joint press conference will be held at: Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, 1700 W. Washington Street in Phoenix. It will begin at 2:00pm, Wednesday, March 23.

Available for media interviews:

Tim Hill, PFFA President

Jim Mann, Executive Director, AZFOP Arizona Labor Council

Jimmy Chavez, President, APA & AHPA

Mark Hafke, PPSLA President

Larry Lopez, AZCOPS President

WATCH THE “RESCUE THE RESCUER” AD – AIRING NOW!

Pension Overhaul Makes Way to Arizona: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

UNIVISION 33: ARIZONA POLICE & FIRE REJECT SB 1609

WATCH APA TESTIFY ON SB 1609 ON YOUR BEHALF MARCH 22ND:

MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS OF SB 1609:

Current Employees and Retirees:

The COLA is based on a market value assumption. This is important because the existing Excess Earnings Fund will be able to pay out a COLA for the next two years but after that it may 15-20 years before another COLA is issued. (Retirees and Current Members)

Employees will be expected to pay 11.65% contribution rate in three years. 2% July 2011, 1% July 2012, 1% July 2013.

Drop is eliminated for those with 5 years or less service. Those between 5-20 years will have to pay contributions into the fund when they enter DROP with interest rates dropping on these accounts. Those with 20 years of more service no change in DROP.

Return to work – Penalty payment assessed.

New Hires:

Many changes to the system for people not yet employed.

Other Issues for ALL:

Commission of a class five felony (not conviction) – This would result in forfeiture of your pension.

Military and in-state service – prior service purchase restriction (Not much info on this provision as of yet)

They are also going to study disability payments to all persons so classified in the next two years. This means there is a possibility that disability pensions will be targeted in the future for reduction or elimination.