WSR 03-05-041

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

RETIREMENT SYSTEMS

[ Filed February 12, 2003, 1:54 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 01-15-031 and 02-22-061.

Title of Rule: WAC 415-108-550 Elected officials -- Eligibility and application for retirement service membership, 415-108-560 Appointed officials -- Eligibility and application for retirement service membership, 415-108-575 How is the compensation adjustment for elected officials computed?, and 415-110-575 How is the compensation adjustment for elected officials computed?

Purpose: Adopt WACs to clarify certain rules related to elected or appointed officials.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 41.50.050(5).

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 41.40.023, 41.40.037.

Summary: Amended and new WACs will clarify certain rules related to elected or appointed officials.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The existing WACs have become outdated and do not cover all circumstances that must be covered by rule.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Merry A. Kogut, P.O. Box 48380, Olympia, WA 98504-8380, (360) 664-7291; Implementation and Enforcement: Lucille Christenson, P.O. Box 48380, Olympia, WA 98504-8380, (360) 664-7069.

Name of Proponent: Department of Retirement Systems (DRS), governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: These rules explain how elected and appointed officials may qualify for retirement benefits. The existing ones have not been updated since June 1994. DRS reviewed them under its ongoing regulatory reform review. The proposed amendments attempt to make the rules more clear and to more clearly reflect current law. The two new WAC put long-standing practice into rule, explaining how DRS computes the threshold salary.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: See Explanation of Rule above.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These amendments have no effect on businesses.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. The Department of Retirement Systems is not one of the named departments in RCW 34.05.328.

Hearing Location: Department of Retirement Systems, 6835 Capitol Boulevard, Conference Room 115, Tumwater, WA, on March 27, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact the rules coordinator by seven days before the hearing, if possible, phone (360) 664-7291, TTY (360) 586-5450, e-mail merryk@drs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, Merry A. Kogut, Rules Coordinator, Department of Retirement Systems, P.O. Box 48380, Olympia, WA 98504-8380, e-mail Merryk@drs.wa.gov, fax (360) 753-3166, by 5:00 p.m. on March 27, 2003.

Date of Intended Adoption: No sooner than the day after the hearing.

February 11, 2003

Merry A. Kogut

Rules Coordinator

OTS-5576.6


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 94-12-014, filed 5/23/94, effective 6/23/94)

WAC 415-108-550   Elected officials -- Eligibility and application for retirement service membership.   (1) Definition: For the purposes of this section and WAC 415-108-570, and pursuant to RCW ((41.40.023,)) 41.40.010 (25)(b), 41.40.010 (9)(a), 41.40.023 and 41.40.035, "elected" officials means individuals elected to any state, local or political subdivision office or individuals appointed to any vacant elective office.

(2) ((Pursuant to)) Voluntary application for membership: Under RCW 41.40.023 (3)(a), elected officials are ((exempted)) exempt from mandatory retirement system membership ((but may)). You have the option to apply for membership during ((the official's)) your current term of elected office. To apply for membership, ((the official shall)) submit a written application directly to the department. ((If)) When the department approves ((the)) your application, ((the elected official is)) you will be entitled to establish membership ((and service credit retroactive to)) effective the first day of ((the official's)) your current term of elected service. ((To establish such membership, the official shall)) Once membership is established, you will be required to pay the ((required)) employee contributions ((for the official's)) from the first day of your current term of elected service with interest as determined by the department.

(3) ((Upon establishing membership for the official's current term of elected office, the official is entitled to establish membership and service credit)) If you are not currently a retiree and when the department approves your application, you may establish membership retroactive to the first day of any previous elected term or terms of office. Your plan membership that you established under subsection (2) of this section remains the same. To exercise this option, ((the official shall)) you must apply to the department pursuant to subsection (2) of this section. ((If)) When the department approves the application, ((the official shall)) you must:

(a) Pay the required employee contributions for such previous term or terms of elected service with interest as determined by the department; and

(b) Pay the required employer contributions for such previous term or terms of elected service with interest as determined by the department. The employer may, ((at)) in its discretion, pay the required employer contributions plus interest in lieu of ((the employee making payment of)) your paying this amount.

(4)(a) If you are a retiree and you become an elected official, you may establish membership prospectively from the first day of the month following the date the department accepts your application.

(b) If you chose not to establish membership, the reemployment provisions of RCW 41.40.037 and WAC 415-108-710 will apply to you.

(5) Multiple positions: If ((an official is)) you are employed in an eligible position at the time of election to office and will hold multiple positions concurrently, ((the official)) you may:

(a) Apply to the department to participate in membership pursuant to ((the official's)) your elected position as provided in subsection (((3))) (2) of this section; or

(b) Choose not to participate pursuant to ((the official's)) your elected position while continuing membership through the nonelected position.

(((5))) (6) Membership length: Except as provided under RCW 41.40.023 (3)(b), once ((an elected official has exercised the option of becoming)) you become a member of the retirement system ((the official)) you shall ((be)) remain a member until ((the official)) you separate((s)) from all eligible public employment pursuant to RCW 41.40.150. ((An official does not separate from public employment when that official's)) It is not a separation if:

(a) Your term of office ends and ((the official commences)) you begin another term of office in the same or a different position for the same employer without a break in service((. An official does not separate from service if the official)); or

(b) You resign((s)) from ((the official's)) your elected position and ((is)) you are later reappointed to the same position during the same term.

(((6))) (7) This section codifies the department's long-standing administrative practice in relation to elected officials. The department will apply this section to service by elected officials which occurred prior to the effective date of this section.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050. 94-12-014, 415-108-550, filed 5/23/94, effective 6/23/94.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 94-12-014, filed 5/23/94, effective 6/23/94)

WAC 415-108-560   Appointed officials -- Eligibility and application for retirement service membership.   (1) For the purposes of this section and WAC 415-108-570, ((and pursuant to RCW 41.40.023, 41.40.010 (25)(b), 41.40.010 (9)(a) and 41.40.035, "appointed" officials means only those individuals appointed directly by the governor to any position, including but not limited to agency directorships and memberships on a state committee, board or commission)) an "appointed" official is a person who meets the criteria in RCW 41.40.010 (25)(b) and is not excluded by the criteria in RCW 41.40.035.

(2) ((An individual must be a gubernatorial appointee or be appointed to serve in a position that meets the requirements of RCW 41.40.010 (25)(a) in order to be eligible for membership and service credit.

(3) Pursuant to)) Voluntary application for membership: Under RCW 41.40.023 (3)(a), appointed officials are ((exempted)) exempt from mandatory retirement system membership ((but may)). You have the option to apply for membership during ((the official's)) your current ((appointed)) term of ((office)) appointed service. To apply for membership, ((the official shall)) submit a written application directly to the department. ((If)) When the department approves ((the)) your application ((the official is)) you will be entitled to establish membership ((and service credit retroactive to)) effective the first day of ((the official's)) your current term of appointed service. ((To establish such membership, the official shall)) Once membership is established, you will be required to pay the ((required)) employee contributions for ((the official's)) your current term of appointed service with interest as determined by the department.

(((4) Upon establishing membership for the official's current term of appointed service, the official is entitled to establish membership)) (3) If you are not currently a retiree and when the department approves your application, you may establish membership retroactive to the first day of any previous ((elected)) appointed term or terms of office. Your plan membership that you established under subsection (2) of this section remains the same. To exercise this option, ((the official shall)) you must apply to the department pursuant to subsection (3) of this section. ((If)) When the department approves the application ((the official shall)) you must:

(a) Pay the required employee contributions for such previous term or terms of ((elected)) appointed service with interest as determined by the department; and

(b) Pay the required employer contributions for such previous term or terms of ((elected)) appointed service with interest as determined by the department. The employer may, ((at)) in its discretion, pay the required employer contributions plus interest in lieu of ((the employee making payment of)) your paying this amount.

(c) "Current term of appointed service" includes an appointed official's entire current term of service. If ((the official has)) you have not been appointed to a position with a set term of office, "current term of appointed service" includes all uninterrupted service in ((the official's)) your current appointed position.

(((5))) (4)(a) If you are a retiree and you become an appointed official, you may establish membership prospectively from the first day of the month following the date the department accepts your application.

(b) If you choose not to establish membership, the reemployment provisions of RCW 41.40.037 and WAC 415-108-710 will apply to you.

(5) Multiple positions: If ((an appointed official is)) you are employed in an eligible position at the time of appointment to office and will hold the two positions concurrently ((the official)) you may:

(a) Apply to the department to participate in membership pursuant to ((the)) your appointed position as provided in subsection (((3))) (2) of this section; or

(b) Choose not to participate pursuant to ((the official's)) your appointed position while continuing membership through the nonappointive position.

(6) Membership length: Once ((an appointed official has exercised the option of becoming)) you become a member of the retirement system ((either at the start of the official's initial term or at a successive term, the official)) you shall ((be)) remain a member until ((the official)) you separate((s)) from all eligible public employment pursuant to RCW 41.40.150. ((An appointed official does not separate from public employment when that official's term of office ends and the official commences)) It is not a separation if:

(a) Your term of office ends, and you begin another term of office in the same or a different position for the same employer without a break in service((. An appointed official does not separate from service if the official)); or

(b) You resign((s)) from ((the)) your appointed position and ((is)) you are later reappointed to the position during the same term.

(7) This section codifies the department's long-standing administrative practice in relation to appointed officials. The department will apply this section to service by appointed officials which occurred prior to the effective date of this section.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050. 94-12-014, 415-108-560, filed 5/23/94, effective 6/23/94.]

OTS-6194.1


NEW SECTION
WAC 415-108-575   How is the compensation adjustment for elected officials computed?   (1) This section provides the department's inflation adjustment under RCW 41.40.023 (3)(b) regarding elected officials.

(2) The department uses the criteria in RCW 41.26.2401 in making annual inflation adjustments to the fifteen thousand dollar compensation threshold stated in RCW 41.40.023 (3)(b).

(3) The department adjusts the compensation threshold on April 1st of each year.2

(4) The department makes this information available upon request. For further information, please contact the department. Please see WAC 415-06-100 for contact information.

Footnotes to section:

1 The department uses this LEOFF statute because the statute explains how to use the Consumer Price Index for Seattle in making these annual adjustments.
2 In 2001 the threshold was $19,263. In 2002 the threshold was $19,948.

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OTS-6195.1


NEW SECTION
WAC 415-110-575   How is the compensation adjustment for elected officials computed?   (1) This section provides the department's inflation adjustment under RCW 41.35.030 (2)(b) regarding elected officials.

(2) The department uses the criteria in RCW 41.26.2401 in making annual inflation adjustments to the fifteen thousand dollar compensation threshold stated in RCW 41.35.030 (2)(b).

(3) The department adjusts the compensation threshold on April 1st of each year.2

(4) The department makes this information available upon request. For further information, please contact the department. Please see WAC 415-06-100 for contact information.

Footnotes to section:

1 The department uses this LEOFF statute because the statute explains how to use the Consumer Price Index for Seattle in making these annual adjustments.
2 In 2001 the threshold was $19,263. In 2002 the threshold was $19,948.

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