The port commission shall have authority to create and fill positions, to fix wages, salaries and bonds thereof, to pay costs and assessments involved in securing or arranging to secure employees, and to establish such benefits for employees, including holiday pay, vacations or vacation pay, retirement and pension benefits, medical, surgical or hospital care, life, accident, or health disability insurance, and similar benefits, already established by other employers of similar employees, as the port commissioner shall by resolution provide: PROVIDED, That any district providing insurance benefits for its employees in any manner whatsoever may provide health and accident insurance, life insurance with coverage not to exceed that provided district employees, and business related travel, liability, and errors and omissions insurance, for its commissioners, which insurance shall not be considered to be compensation.
Subject to chapter 48.62
RCW, the port commission shall have authority to provide or pay such benefits directly, or to provide for such benefits by the purchase of insurance policies or entering into contracts with and compensating any person, firm, agency or organization furnishing such benefits, or by making contributions to vacation plans or funds, or health and welfare plans and funds, or pension plans or funds, or similar plans or funds, already established by other employers of similar employees and in which the port district is permitted to participate for particular classifications of its employees by the trustees or other persons responsible for the administration of such established plans or funds: PROVIDED FURTHER, That no port district employee shall be allowed to apply for admission to or be accepted as a member of the state employees' retirement system after January 1, 1965, if admission to such system would result in coverage under both a private pension system and the state employees' retirement system, it being the purpose of this proviso that port districts shall not at the same time contribute for any employee to both a private pension or retirement plan and to the state employees' retirement system. The port commission shall have authority by resolution to utilize and compensate agents for the purpose of paying, in the name and by the check of such agent or agents or otherwise, wages, salaries and other benefits to employees, or particular classifications thereof, and for the purpose of withholding payroll taxes and paying over tax moneys so withheld to appropriate government agencies, on a combined basis with the wages, salaries, benefits, or taxes of other employers or otherwise; to enter into such contracts and arrangements with and to transfer by warrant such funds from time to time to any such agent or agents so appointed as are necessary to accomplish such salary, wage, benefit, or tax payments as though the port district were a private employer, notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary. The funds of a port district transferred to such an agent or agents for the payment of wages or salaries of its employees in the name or by the check of such agent or agents shall be subject to garnishment with respect to salaries or wages so paid, notwithstanding any provision of the law relating to municipal corporations to the contrary.
Notwithstanding any provision in this section, the governing body of a port district may enter into an agreement in writing with one or more of its officers or employees or a group of such officers and employees, authorizing deductions from the officer's or employee's salary or wages of the amount of any premium specified in writing by the officer or employee, for contribution to any private pension plan, without loss of eligibility for membership in the state employees' retirement system, and may agree to remit that amount to the management of such private pension plan. However, no port district funds shall be contributed or paid to such private plan. When such authorized deductions are certified by the port commission to the port district's auditor, the auditor shall draw and issue a proper warrant or warrants, or check or checks if that method of payment is authorized by statute, directly to and in favor of the person, firm, corporation, or organization named in the authorization, for the total amount authorized to be deducted from the payroll, together with a list identifying the officers and employees for whom the payment is made.
Nothing in this section may be invoked to invalidate any private pension plan or any public or private contributions or payments thereto, or exclude members of any such private pension plan from membership in the state employees' retirement system, if such private plan was in operation on December 31, 2001.