Section 175.032, Florida Statutes 2009
175.032 Definitions.--For any municipality, special fire control district, chapter plan, local law municipality, local law special fire control district, or local law plan under this chapter, the following words and phrases have the following meanings:
(1)(a) "Average final compensation" for a full-time firefighter means one-twelfth of the average annual compensation of the 5 best years of the last 10 years of creditable service prior to retirement, termination, or death, or the career average as a full-time firefighter since July 1, 1953, whichever is greater. A year shall be 12 consecutive months or such other consecutive period of time as is used and consistently applied.
(b) "Average final compensation" for a volunteer firefighter means the average salary of the 5 best years of the last 10 best contributing years prior to change in status to a permanent full-time firefighter or retirement as a volunteer firefighter or the career average of a volunteer firefighter, since July 1, 1953, whichever is greater.
(2) "Chapter plan" means a separate defined benefit pension plan for firefighters which incorporates by reference the provisions of this chapter and has been adopted by the governing body of a municipality or special district. Except as may be specifically authorized in this chapter, provisions of a chapter plan may not differ from the plan provisions set forth in ss. 175.021-175.341 and 175.361-175.401. Actuarial valuations of chapter plans shall be conducted by the division as provided by s. 175.261(1).
(3) "Compensation" or "salary" means the fixed monthly remuneration paid a firefighter; where, as in the case of a volunteer firefighter, remuneration is based on actual services rendered, the term means the total cash remuneration received yearly for such services, prorated on a monthly basis.
(a) A retirement trust fund or plan may use a definition of salary other than the definition in this subsection but only if the monthly retirement income payable to each firefighter covered by the retirement trust fund or plan, as determined under s. 175.162(2)(a) and using such other definition, equals or exceeds the monthly retirement income that would be payable to each firefighter if his or her monthly retirement income were determined under s. 175.162(2)(a) and using the definition in this subsection.
(b) Any retirement trust fund or plan which now or hereafter meets the requirements of this chapter shall not, solely by virtue of this subsection, reduce or diminish the monthly retirement income otherwise payable to each firefighter covered by the retirement trust fund or plan.
(c) The member's compensation or salary contributed as employee-elective salary reductions or deferrals to any salary reduction, deferred compensation, or tax-sheltered annuity program authorized under the Internal Revenue Code shall be deemed to be the compensation or salary the member would receive if he or she were not participating in such program and shall be treated as compensation for retirement purposes under this chapter.
(d) For any person who first becomes a member in any plan year beginning on or after January 1, 1996, compensation for any plan year shall not include any amounts in excess of the Internal Revenue Code s. 401(a)(17) limitation (as amended by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993), which limitation of $150,000 shall be adjusted as required by federal law for qualified government plans and shall be further adjusted for changes in the cost of living in the manner provided by Internal Revenue Code s. 401(a)(17)(B). For any person who first became a member prior to the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 1996, the limitation on compensation shall be not less than the maximum compensation amount that was allowed to be taken into account under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, which limitation shall be adjusted for changes in the cost of living since 1989 in the manner provided by Internal Revenue Code s. 401(a)(17)(1991).
(4) "Creditable service" or "credited service" means the aggregate number of years of service, and fractional parts of years of service, of any firefighter, omitting intervening years and fractional parts of years when such firefighter may not have been employed by the municipality or special fire control district, subject to the following conditions:
(a) No firefighter will receive credit for years or fractional parts of years of service if he or she has withdrawn his or her contributions to the fund for those years or fractional parts of years of service, unless the firefighter repays into the fund the amount he or she has withdrawn, plus interest determined by the board. The member shall have at least 90 days after his or her reemployment to make repayment.
(b) A firefighter may voluntarily leave his or her contributions in the fund for a period of 5 years after leaving the employ of the fire department, pending the possibility of being rehired by the same department, without losing credit for the time he or she has participated actively as a firefighter. If the firefighter is not reemployed as a firefighter, with the same department, within 5 years, his or her contributions shall be returned without interest.
(c) Credited service under this chapter shall be provided only for service as a firefighter, as defined in subsection (8), or for military service and does not include credit for any other type of service. A municipality may, by local ordinance, or a special fire control district may, by resolution, provide for the purchase of credit for military service prior to employment as well as for prior service as a firefighter for some other employer as long as a firefighter is not entitled to receive a benefit for such prior service as a firefighter. For purposes of determining credit for prior service as a firefighter, in addition to service as a firefighter in this state, credit may be given for federal, other state, or county service if the prior service is recognized by the Division of State Fire Marshal as provided under chapter 633, or the firefighter provides proof to the board of trustees that his or her service is equivalent to the service required to meet the definition of a firefighter under subsection (8).
(d) In determining the creditable service of any firefighter, credit for up to 5 years of the time spent in the military service of the Armed Forces of the United States shall be added to the years of actual service if:
1. The firefighter is in the active employ of an employer immediately prior to such service and leaves a position, other than a temporary position, for the purpose of voluntary or involuntary service in the Armed Forces of the United States.
2. The firefighter is entitled to reemployment under the provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
3. The firefighter returns to his or her employment as a firefighter of the municipality or special fire control district within 1 year from the date of release from such active service.
(5) "Deferred Retirement Option Plan" or "DROP" means a local law plan retirement option in which a firefighter may elect to participate. A firefighter may retire for all purposes of the plan and defer receipt of retirement benefits into a DROP account while continuing employment with his or her employer. However, a firefighter who enters the DROP and who is otherwise eligible to participate shall not thereby be precluded from participating, or continuing to participate, in a supplemental plan in existence on, or created after, the effective date of this act.
(6) "Division" means the Division of Retirement of the Department of Management Services.
(7) "Enrolled actuary" means an actuary who is enrolled under Subtitle C of Title III of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and who is a member of the Society of Actuaries or the American Academy of Actuaries.
(8)(a) "Firefighter" means any person employed solely by a constituted fire department of any municipality or special fire control district who is certified as a firefighter as a condition of employment in accordance with s. 633.35 and whose duty it is to extinguish fires, to protect life, or to protect property. The term includes all certified, supervisory, and command personnel whose duties include, in whole or in part, the supervision, training, guidance, and management responsibilities of full-time firefighters, part-time firefighters, or auxiliary firefighters but does not include part-time firefighters or auxiliary firefighters. However, for purposes of this chapter only, the term also includes public safety officers who are responsible for performing both police and fire services, who are certified as police officers or firefighters, and who are certified by their employers to the Chief Financial Officer as participating in this chapter before October 1, 1979. Effective October 1, 1979, public safety officers who have not been certified as participating in this chapter are considered police officers for retirement purposes and are eligible to participate in chapter 185. Any plan may provide that the fire chief has an option to participate, or not, in that plan.
(b) "Volunteer firefighter" means any person whose name is carried on the active membership roll of a constituted volunteer fire department or a combination of a paid and volunteer fire department of any municipality or special fire control district and whose duty it is to extinguish fires, to protect life, and to protect property. Compensation for services rendered by a volunteer firefighter shall not disqualify him or her as a volunteer. A person shall not be disqualified as a volunteer firefighter solely because he or she has other gainful employment. Any person who volunteers assistance at a fire but is not an active member of a department described herein is not a volunteer firefighter within the meaning of this paragraph.
(9) "Firefighters' Pension Trust Fund" means a trust fund, by whatever name known, as provided under s. 175.041, for the purpose of assisting municipalities and special fire control districts in establishing and maintaining a retirement plan for firefighters.
(10) "Local law municipality" is any municipality in which there exists a local law plan.
(11) "Local law plan" means a defined benefit pension plan for firefighters, or for firefighters or police officers where included, as described in s. 175.351, established by municipal ordinance, special district resolution, or special act of the Legislature, which enactment sets forth all plan provisions. Local law plan provisions may vary from the provisions of this chapter, provided that required minimum benefits and minimum standards are met. Any such variance shall provide a greater benefit for firefighters. Actuarial valuations of local law plans shall be conducted by an enrolled actuary as provided in s. 175.261(2).
(12) "Local law special fire control district" is any special fire control district in which there exists a local law plan.
(13) "Property insurance" means property insurance as defined in s. 624.604 and covers real and personal property within the corporate limits of any municipality, or within the boundaries of any special fire control district, within the state. "Multiple peril" means a combination or package policy that includes both property and casualty coverage for a single premium.
(14) "Retiree" or "retired firefighter" means a firefighter who has entered retirement status. For the purposes of a plan that includes a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), a firefighter who enters the DROP shall be considered a retiree for all purposes of the plan. However, a firefighter who enters the DROP and who is otherwise eligible to participate shall not thereby be precluded from participating, or continuing to participate, in a supplemental plan in existence on, or created after, the effective date of this act.
(15) "Retirement" means a firefighter's separation from city or fire district employment as a firefighter with immediate eligibility for receipt of benefits under the plan. For purposes of a plan that includes a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), "retirement" means the date a firefighter enters the DROP.
(16) "Special fire control district" means a special district, as defined in s. 189.403(1), established for the purposes of extinguishing fires, protecting life, and protecting property within the incorporated or unincorporated portions of any county or combination of counties, or within any combination of incorporated and unincorporated portions of any county or combination of counties. The term does not include any dependent or independent special district, as defined in s. 189.403(2) and (3), respectively, the employees of which are members of the Florida Retirement System pursuant to s. 121.051(1) or (2).
(17) "Supplemental plan" means a plan to which deposits are made to provide extra benefits for firefighters, or for firefighters and police officers where included under this chapter. Such a plan is an element of a local law plan and exists in conjunction with a defined benefit plan that meets the minimum benefits and minimum standards of this chapter.
(18) "Supplemental plan municipality" means any local law municipality in which there existed a supplemental plan, of any type or nature, as of December 1, 2000.
History.--s. 1, ch. 63-249; s. 2, ch. 79-380; s. 1, ch. 79-388; s. 1, ch. 81-168; s. 2, ch. 86-41; s. 13, ch. 93-193; s. 918, ch. 95-147; s. 13, ch. 95-154; s. 2, ch. 99-1; s. 1, ch. 2000-159; s. 1, ch. 2002-66; s. 160, ch. 2003-261; s. 3, ch. 2009-97.