(1) The intent of the Legislature is to authorize and direct each city and town to provide a system of retirement for elected officials, but it is further the intent that each city or town may determine whether the system will be contributory or noncontributory.
(2)(a) From and after June 3, 1939, whenever any elective officer of any city or town of this state has held any elective office of such city or town for a period of 20 years or more consecutively, or for a period of 20 years or more consecutively, except for one period not exceeding 6 months, such elective officer may voluntarily resign or retire from such elective office with the right to be paid on the officer’s own requisition by such city or town during the remainder of his or her natural life a sum equal to one-half of the full amount of the annual or monthly salary that such city or town was authorized by law to pay said elective officer at the time of resignation or retirement; and such city and town shall appropriate and provide in its annual budget sufficient moneys to meet the requirements of this section when no other plan is available for elected local officials. In cases in which an elective officer during any term of office entered or enters and served or serves in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period during which the United States was or shall be engaged in war and thereafter was or shall be appointed or again elected to the same elective office prior to discharge from such service in the Armed Forces, such time of service in the Armed Forces shall not be construed to be a break in consecutive service and shall be counted in determining the years of consecutive service of such elective officer.
(b) The provisions of this subsection shall not operate to preclude any elected officer from retiring under, and receiving benefits pursuant to, the provisions of this section as it existed prior to October 1, 1973, if such officer had, prior to that date, completed the required 20 years of service or been elected to a term upon the expiration of which he or she completes the required 20 years of service. However, if on October 1, 1973, an elected officer had completed at least 10 of the required 20 years of service, the city or town may elect to provide an annual or monthly retirement salary as provided in this subsection.
(3) Each city or town may by ordinance establish a contributory retirement system for those officials defined in subsection (2). The rules for participation, the amount of the official’s contributions, and the method of appropriation and payment may be determined by ordinance of the city or town.