§ 6-37. 1978 Pension Act  


Latest version.
  • (a) The pension benefits provided by this section and the several subsections hereof shall be in lieu of like pension benefits provided by the existing provisions of this Act [1927 Ga. Laws, page 265, as amended].

    (b) (1) Any officer or employee coming under the terms of this Act who is in the employment of the city prior to the effective date of this amendment may elect to come under the provisions of this amendment by making written application to the board of trustees. The applicant must agree in writing to accept the benefits and obligations of this amendment, in lieu of other pension benefits and obligations under this Act, as amended.

    All such officers and employees in the employment of the city on the effective date of this Act who do not in writing agree to accept the benefits and obligations of this amendment shall have their rights and obligations determined under the law as it existed prior to this amendment, even though such provisions of law are specifically repealed as hereinafter set forth.

    All regular officers or employees of the city, eligible for participation in this Act, as amended, who shall be elected or employed after the effective date of this Act, shall be required to come under provisions of this Act, as now amended, and shall have all rights and duties provided in the amended Act. Temporary and casual employees shall not be required to participate in this Act, as amended.

    (2) Pension Application; Procedure. Unless the pension applicant withdraws a pending application for pension benefits, or abandons his or her appeal from the denial of such application by the board of trustees, no new application for a different category of pension benefits shall be accepted by the board of trustees. Further, whenever an officer or employee has been granted a certain category of pension benefits, no new application for a different category shall be accepted by the board of trustees. (1981 Ga. Laws, page 4376, § 1)

    (c) All officers and employees, who shall elect or required to come under the terms of this amendment, may as a matter of right retire from active service and receive a monthly pension benefit hereinafter set forth and referred to hereinafter as a "normal monthly pension benefit," provided such person shall have served 15 years in the active service of such city and shall have attained the age of 60 years prior to commencement of such benefit. Upon such officer or employee retiring as a matter of right, such person shall be paid thereafter a normal monthly pension benefit equal to two percent of such person's average monthly earnings multiplied by the number of such person's years, or fraction thereof, of creditable service and that normal pension benefit shall not exceed 100 percent of such person's average monthly earnings. Average monthly earnings shall be the average of the monthly earnings of the highest three consecutive years' salary or earnings during the term of employment. In computing the average monthly earnings, if the officer or employee shall have received a lump sum payment for compensation, accumulated vacation, sick leave bonus pay, or similar benefits, the amounts of such payments shall be equally distributed over the period of time in which such compensation or benefit was earned or accumulated.

    Effective September 1, 2005, the following employees shall be eligible to participate under the terms of this act:

    (1) An employee of the City of Atlanta who was participating under the terms of this act on August 31, 2005;

    (2) An employee of the City of Atlanta who transfers his account balance under the City of Atlanta Defined Contribution Plan to the fund established under this act pursuant to section 6-102;

    (3) An employee of the City of Atlanta who commences or recommences permanent, full-time employment on or after September 1, 2005 as a classified employee, as defined in section 114-84 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta;

    (4) An employee of the City of Atlanta who commences or recommences permanent, full-time employment on or after September 1, 2005 at payroll grade level 18 or below;

    (5) A permanent, full-time employee of the City of Atlanta who is either a classified employee, as defined in section 114-84 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta, or employed at grade level 18 or below and who on or after September 1, 2005 ceases to be ineligible to participate under the terms of this act by reason of being a non-civilian employee in the Department of Fire Services or a sworn officer of the Department of Police Services; and

    (6) An employee of the Atlanta Independent School System who is not covered under the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, an individual who is or at any time becomes a temporary or casual employee, an employee hired on a contract basis, an employee with an account balance under the City of Atlanta Defined Contribution Plan who has not elected to transfer his account balance to the fund established under this act pursuant to section 6-102, a non-civilian employee in the Department of Fire Services or a sworn officer of the Department of Police Services shall not be eligible to participate under the terms of this act while classified as one of the foregoing. Furthermore, civilian employees hired as police recruits or fire recruits in anticipation of becoming sworn officers of the Department of Fire or Department of Police shall be ineligible to participate under the terms of this act. All employees eligible to participate under this act shall be required to do so.

    (d) All officers and employees, who shall elect or be required to come under the term of this amendment, may as a matter of right retire from active service and receive an early retirement benefit, hereinafter referred to as "early monthly retirement benefit," provided such person shall ha e served 15 years in the active service of such city. When such officer or employee shall elect early retirement as a matter of right, such person shall be paid thereafter an early monthly retirement benefit equal to a normal monthly pension benefit less one-half of one percent per month for each month not to exceed 60 months that the officer or employee lacks in being 60 years of age and one-fourth of one percent per month for each month in excess of 60 months that the officer or employee lacks in being 60 years of age. Provided, however, as to any officer or employee coming under the terms of this act who was in the employment of such city prior to the effective date of this amendment, such officer or employee may elect a monthly pension benefit, hereinafter referred to as a "reduced monthly pension benefit," provided such person shall have served 25 years and shall have attained the age of 55 years. Said reduced monthly pension benefit shall be equal to a normal monthly pension benefit less one-twelfth of two percent per month for each month the officer or employee lacks in being 60 years of age.

    (e) (1) Whenever any officer or employee, electing to or having been required to come under the terms of this amendment, shall have completed at least five (5) years of active service with such city and not yet have reached the age of 60 years, then such person shall have the right to terminate such person's employment with such city upon completion of said five (5) years, or any time thereafter; elect not to withdraw or have paid to such person the amount which said person would have paid into the pension fund prior to terminating such employment; and upon subsequently attaining 60 years of age commence to receive at said time, and be paid thereafter a monthly pension benefit, hereinafter referred to as a "vested monthly pension benefit," as set forth below based upon the number of years of completed service:

    a. Completion of 10 or more years of service—A normal monthly pension benefit (100% vested).

    b. Completion of less than 10 years of service—-the vesting schedule is as follows:

    Completion of 9 years = 45% Completion of 8 years = 40% Completion of 7 years = 35% Completion of 6 years = 30% Completion of 5 years = 25% Completion of less than 5 years = 0%

    Should such person have provided for the payment of a pension to a beneficiary, as authorized by said Act, as amended, by making the required payment or contribution to the pension fund, then after terminating the employment with such city, thereby electing to exercise such person's vesting rights, and upon the death of such officer or employee, either before or after attaining 60 years of age, such beneficiary designated under the terms of this Act, as amended, shall be entitled to a beneficiary pension equal to three-fourths of the amount the pensioner was receiving or such person would have received in accordance with the applicable provisions of this Act, as amended.

    (2) Pension Benefits; No Simultaneous Payment of Benefits and Salary; No Entitlement to Interest.

    a. Whenever an officer or employee has been declared eligible for pension benefits, such pension benefits shall only commence the day following the last day of paid employment for such city.

    b. In each and every instance where pension benefits shall become payable pursuant to this Act, as amended, such payments shall be limited to the statutorily required amount as provided by this Act, as amended, and shall be exclusive of interest or other amounts. (1981 Ga. Laws, page 4376, § 5)

    (f) No department head who elects to come under the provision of this Act shall be entitled to receive any emeritus salary as provided by the governing authorities of any city coming within the provisions of this Act.

    (g) (1) Any officer or employee who is a member of the pension fund shall be considered totally and permanently disabled by the board of trustees while the officer or employee is in a continuous state of incapacity due to illness or injury:

    a. During the first 12 months which the officer or employee is prevented from performing his/her regular, assigned or comparable duties; and

    b. Thereafter, if the condition continues to prevent the officer or employee from engaging in any occupation for which he/she is or becomes reasonably qualified by education, training or experience.

    (2) A member who is considered by the board of trustees to be totally and permanently disabled in accordance with subsection (g)(1)a. and b. on or after January 1, 1986, shall receive a monthly disability benefit which shall commence on the day following the officer's or employee's last date on the payroll and continue until the earlier of:

    a. Cessation of total and permanent disability;

    b. Attainment of age 60.

    (3) Such monthly disability benefit shall be equal to 50 percent of the officer's or employee's average monthly earnings during the highest three (3) consecutive years of service prior to the date of approval by the board of trustees or the officer's or employee's accrued normal retirement benefit, whichever is greater.

    (4) Upon the cessation of disability benefits pursuant to section (g)(2)a. or b. and the officer's or employee's failure to return to city employment, the officer or employee would be entitled to a pension benefit as calculated in accordance with subsection b., c. or d. of 1978 Ga. Laws, page 4546, as applicable. Provided further, that the calculation of any such subsequent benefit shall include credit for all years and fractions thereof during the time disability pension benefits have been paid, but shall not include credit for any disability pension payments made. Provided further, that for the purposes of calculating any cost of living adjustments, the subsequent benefits shall be considered as a new pension with a new effective date.

    (5) Disability pension benefits shall be offset by worker's compensation payments so that the combination of payments shall not exceed 75 percent of the officer's or employee's salary at the time disability pension benefits are to commence or 60 percent of an officer's or employee's salary at the time of disability or death in the case of a beneficiary. However, this subsection shall not affect any cost-of-living adjustments as provided in subsection (h), nor prevent the restoration of disability pension benefits payable upon the reduction or termination of any such compensation benefits payable by the city under applicable worker's compensation laws.

    (6) a. Pensions for beneficiaries designated under the terms of this Act, as amended, shall be three-fourths of the amount the pensioner was receiving, at the time of his death, as a result of retirement as a matter of right or because of total and permanent disability; or three-fourths of the amount such officer or employee would have been entitled to receive had such person retired prior to death.

    b. The pension benefits for a primary beneficiary shall be continued to the secondary beneficiary, upon the death, or ineligibility for benefits, of the primary beneficiary. Provided, however, if such primary beneficiary was not receiving the maximum beneficiary payment provided for in this Act because of any provision of this Act reducing such amount, such maximum beneficiary amount shall be paid to the secondary beneficiary, notwithstanding any lesser amount previously paid to the primary beneficiary.

    c. No spouse, designated as a beneficiary, shall be entitled to receive any of said service pension benefits unless such spouse shall have been legally married to such officer or employee of such city for a period of one (1) year prior to the death of such pensioner; provided the officer or employee has made payment for such benefits prior to retirement. No domestic partner, designated as a beneficiary, shall be entitled to receive any of said service pension benefits unless such domestic partner shall have been legally registered as a domestic partner for a period of one (1) year prior to the death of such pensioner; provided the officer or employee has made payment for such benefits prior to retirement.

    d. In determining all pensions of officers or employees referred to above, fractional parts of years of service shall be counted and accumulated annual sick leave days credited to such officer or employee shall be counted as provided for in paragraph e.

    e. In determining creditable service, accumulated, unused sick leave days credited to such officer or employee shall be added as work days to the creditable service otherwise provided by this Act, as amended. In determining average monthly earnings, such accumulated unused sick leave days shall be credited at the highest daily rate of regular salary or earnings during the highest three (3) consecutive years' salary or earnings; and all accumulated unused sick leave days shall be substituted for a like number of days at the lowest rate of regular salary or earnings during such highest three (3) consecutive years' salary or earnings during the term of employment.

    f. Any person entitled to disability benefits under the provisions of this Act, as amended, may receive benefits after he/she has been in the active employment of the city for at least a period of five (5) years. Provided, however, said requirement shall not apply to an officer or employee disabled as a direct result of a traumatic event or events occurring during and as a result of the performance of an officer's or employee's regular or assigned duties and not the result of such officer's or employee's willful negligence.

    (7) Disability pensions; annual review. The retirement of a pension applicant by reason of permanent and total disability shall be subject to the following conditions:

    a. The board of trustees shall have the right to at least once a year require the pensioner to submit to a medical examination for the purpose of determining whether or not the pensioner has sufficiently recovered from his/her disability and is able to return to any occupation for which he/she is or becomes reasonably qualified by education, training or experience.

    b. If the board, after such examination, determines that the pensioner is not actually totally and permanently disabled and is able to return to any occupation for which he/she is or becomes reasonably qualified by education, training or experience, then the payment of such disability pension shall cease. (1981 Ga. Laws, page 4376, §§ 3, 7; Ord. No. 1985-94, § 1, 12-19-85; Ord. No. 1987-29, § 1, 4-8-87; Ord. No. 1994-45, § 1, 9-25-94; Ord. No. 2006-12, § 1, 3-23-06; Ord. No. 2010-32(10-O-0911), §§ 1, 2, 6-29-10

(Ord. No. 2000-13, § 1, 5-23-00; Ord. No. 2009-27(09-O-0776), § 1, 6-23-09; Ord. No. 2011-15(11-O-0674), § 1, 5-9-11)

(Ord. No. 1992-45, § 2, 7-28-92; Ord. No. 1994-13, § 3, 3-24-94; Ord. No. 1996-37, § 3, 6-10-96; Ord. No. 2005-81, § 1, 11-22-05)

(1978 Ga. Laws, page 4546, § 1; 1979 Ga. Laws, page 3606, § 1; 1979 Ga. Laws, page 3613, § 1; 1979 Ga. Laws, page 3625, § 1; 1979 Ga. Laws, page 3633, § 1; 1979 Ga. Laws, page 3637, § 1; 1980 Ga. Laws, page 3852, §§ 1, 2; 1981 Ga. Laws, page 4376, § 8; Ord. No. 1985-49, § 2, 8-9-85; Ord. No. 1994-11, § 1, 3-14-94; Ord. No. 1994-37, § 1, 8-1-94; Ord. No. 1998-2, § 1, 2-10-98; Ord. No. 1998-5, § 1, 2-23-98; Ord. No. 2004-43, § 1, 7-14-04; Ord. No. 2005-29, §§ 1—5, 5-23-05; Ord. No. 2005-53, § 1, 9-12-05; Ord. No. 2005-55, § 1, 9-12-05; Ord. No. 2005-81, § 1, 11-22-05; Ord. No. 2006-17, § 1, 5-8-06; Ord. No. 2006-64, § 1, 9-26-06; Ord. No. 2006-81, § 1, 11-28-06; Ord. No. 2007-31(07-O-0977), § 1, 5-29-07; Ord. No. 2007-59(07-O-1331), § 1, 10-10-17)

refeditor

Ord. No. 1987-29, § 2, provides as follows: "The provisions of this amendment shall apply only to all officers and employees who are not covered by the 1986 Amendment" i.e., this subsection (g).

The ordinances listed in the left-hand column below are found in the state session laws at the location listed opposite them in the right-hand column below:

Georgia Laws
Ord. No. Year Page
1992-73

 

(l) This section and the several subsections shall be effective as of April 1, 1978, except for the provisions of subsection (m) which shall be effective as of January 1, 1979. Payments required by subsection (i) above, as to those persons then employed and electing to come under this amendment, shall commence on April 1, 1978. As to such persons subsequently coming into the service of such city or subsequently electing to participate under the terms of this amendment, said payments shall begin with the date of employment or date of such election.

(m)

(1)

In addition to the funds derived from deductions from salaries and wages, as required by subsection (i) of this amendment, it shall be the duty of the governing authority of such cities to appropriate and pay into the pension fund each year an amount which shall be equal to the actuarially determined percentage of members' salary and wages necessary to pay the normal cost contribution of benefits earned by members and to amortize the unfunded accrued liability of the pension fund on a closed 30-year schedule commencing July 1, 2011, after deducting contributions required of officers and employees required by subsection (i) of this amendment.

For purposes of paying the required employer contributions provided above, the governing authority of such cities shall be authorized to levy ad valorem taxes payable to the pension fund sufficient to amortize the unfunded accrued liability under provisions of this amendment within a closed schedule of thirty (30) years commencing July 1, 2011, and upon the determination by an independent actuarial valuation as provided in subsection (n) below that such unfunded accrued liability has been amortized, such authorization to levy such ad valorem taxes shall cease. Should said pension fund at any time be insufficient to meet and pay the pension due to such officers and employees, the governing authority shall appropriate from current funds amounts sufficient to make up the deficiency as it relates to the respective officers and employees and deposit same into said pension fund. Should such actuarial valuation as provided in subsection (n) below result in a determination that the total required employer contribution would be less than the contribution required of members by subsection (i) of this amendment, then the contributions required of members by subsection (i) of this amendment shall be reduced and the required employer contributions in this subsection shall be increased so that the member contributions required by subsection (i) will not be greater than the required employer contributions under this subsection.

(2) Every three (3) years and prior to submitting the annual fiscal budget for that third year, the Chief Financial Officer for the City of Atlanta shall review and prepare for the chair of the finance executive committee and the boards of trustees a report on the effect the amortization schedule has upon the actuarial accrued liability for the pension funds.

(n) When any person covered by the provisions of this Act shall die as a result of injuries incurred in the line of duty, the compensation to which such person would have been entitled had such person continued in active service shall be continued for two years by such city and paid to the primary beneficiary designated by such officer or employee. Any compensation received by the member due to said injury shall be deducted from the two years compensation herein provided for. At the expiration of the two-year period referred to above, the pension benefits due to the beneficiary shall be computed in accordance with the provisions of this amendment. The pension benefits for a primary beneficiary shall be continued to the secondary beneficiaries upon the death or ineligibility of the primary beneficiary.

The city employing any officer or employee coming under the provisions of this Act shall immediately notify the board of trustees upon the occurrence of the disability or death of any such officer or employee, and the board of trustees shall conduct an investigation within ninety (90) days of the date of the event which caused such disability or death.

Thereafter, the board of trustees shall make a determination as to whether such disability or death was incurred in line of duty or not in line of duty. Should such city, or any person having an interest in said decision, disagree with such decision of the board then either such city or such person may appeal from such decision as provided by law.

It shall also be the duty and responsibility of the board of trustees to employ an independent actuary to render an actuarial review of the pension fund at periodic intervals of no more than five (5) years, commencing with the enactment of this amendment. The term "independent actuary" as used herein means a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, or a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, or an organization of which one or more members is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries or a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, or both.

The ordinances listed in the left-hand column below are found in the state session laws at the location listed opposite them in the right-hand column below:

Georgia Laws
Ord. No. Year Page
1985-94

 

(r) The board of trustees may pool any amount of the funds administered by them with the funds of any other pension or retirement fund for other employees of such city for the purpose of joint investments. When such pooling occurs, the pooled trust funds shall be accounted for in accordance with generally accepted principles of accounting in order to maintain the separate accountability of such pension funds. The board of trustees may employ an independent investment counselor who shall advise them on the best and most appropriate portfolio of investments.

(s) The city attorney shall, without extra compensation, render such legal service as the board of trustees created by this Act shall require.

(t) Any employee participating under the provisions of this act who terminates employment before retirement shall be entitled to a refund of all monies paid into the fund established under this act by said employee, including any amounts transferred by such employee to this fund from the City of Atlanta Defined Contribution Plan (the "Defined Contribution Plan") pursuant to section 6-102 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta that were vested under the terms of the Defined Contribution Plan at the time of the transfer but excluding any amounts so transferred that were not vested under the terms of the Defined Contribution Plan at the time of the transfer; provided, however, that such refunds shall be subject to withholding for all applicable taxes and deduction for any debts or amounts due to the employer by the employee.

(u) Subject to approval by the United States Internal Revenue Service in accordance with IRC section 414(h), employee contributions shall be treated as employer contributions in determining tax treatment effective with the following payroll periods in 1994:

Groups I, III, IV, VI Pay period 6
Group II Pay period 11
Group V Pay period 3

 

Such contributions shall not be included as gross income of the employee for tax purposes until such time as they are distributed or made available. The City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Board of Education shall reduce the compensation payable to a member in an amount of the contributions made on behalf of the employee.

(v) Any officer or employee who retires pursuant to this section between August 29, 1994, and October 15, 1994, and whose age and creditable service before credit for accrued unused sick leave equals at least 75 years, shall be entitled to a monthly pension benefit upon retirement without any reduction for any age or vesting penalties as would otherwise be applicable. Provided further that such officer or employee shall receive a benefit calculated by adding three (3) years to their service.

Entitlements specified under subsection (v), above, shall be accorded to those officers and employees not covered by the aforesaid 1978 pension amendment, under applicable provisions of amendments to said law adopted prior to the 1978 amendment.

This section shall become effective for eligible school members upon approval by the Atlanta Board of Education. Said board may set an alternate time period not to exceed 60 days.

(w) Any officer or employee whose age and creditable service before credit for accrued unused sick leave equals at least 73 years as of March 31, 1998, shall be entitled to a monthly pension benefit upon retirement without any reduction for any age or vesting penalties as would otherwise be applicable.

All officers and employees eligible to retire pursuant to this section must make written application to the pension office between February 13, 1998 and March 31, 1998.

This section shall become effective for eligible employees of the Atlanta Board of Education upon approval of the Board of Education.

(x) Any officer or employee who was eligible to elect coverage under the pension laws as amended by Ordinance No. 1985-94 and who failed to make such election may do so by making written application on forms provided by the pension office within 60 days of the effective date of this subsection.

(y) Involuntary separation.

(1) Any officer or employee who is a member of the General Employee Pension Fund, who shall have served at least 15 years in the active service of the City, and who is involuntarily separated due to or in association with a Reduction-in-Force (RIF), or in conjunction with the City's reorganization and downsizing of the City's workforce and budgetary needs, but not due to disciplinary action, between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2005, may elect to take a monthly retirement benefit to be computed as follows: Said monthly retirement benefit shall be equal to a normal monthly pension benefit less one-fourth (¼) of one percent (1%) per month for each month not to exceed 60 months that the` officer or employee lacks in being 60 years of age, and one-eighth (1/8) of one percent (1%) for each month in excess of 60 months that the officer or employee lacks in being 60 years of age.

(2) Any former officer or employee eligible to retire pursuant to this ordinance who has been involuntarily separated due to or in association with a RIF, but not due to disciplinary action, between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2005 in conjunction with the City's reorganization and downsizing of the City's workforce and budgetary needs, and has already applied for and/or has been granted a service pension, may make written application to the Pension Office within the two year reemployment rights period to receive the benefit authorized in subsection (a) of this Ordinance.

(3) Any former officer or employee eligible to retire pursuant to this ordinance who has been involuntarily separated due to or in association with a RIF, but not due to disciplinary action, between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2005 in conjunction with the City's reorganization and downsizing of the City's workforce and budgetary needs, and has applied for and received a refund of his/her pension contribution, may, within the two year reemployment rights period, repay said contribution plus interest at a rate of seven (7) percent per annum from the date of withdrawal of his/her contribution, to the date that he/she makes written application to the Pension Office for the purpose of receiving the benefit authorized in subsection (a) of this Ordinance.

(4) This ordinance shall not apply to officers or employees who are rehired by the City of Atlanta or whose services are retained by the City pursuant to a contract; (ii) Nor shall this ordinance apply to officers or employees who reject or have rejected an offer of reemployment made by the City, to a position comparable to that from which the officer or employee was RIFFED or involuntarily separated in conjunction with the City's reorganization and downsizing of the City's workforce, budgetary needs or other purposes. For officers or employees who are RIFFED or so involuntarily separated subsequent to the enactment of this ordinance, said offer of reemployment must be made WITHIN SIX (6) MONTHS of the date of separation of any such officer or employee. For purposes of this subsection, a "comparable position " shall be defined as one for which the compensation is equal to or no less than 90% of the compensation earned by such officer or employee at the time of separation.

(z) [Catastrophic injury.]

1. Georgia Laws 1927, p. 265, particularly as amended by Georgia Laws 1978, p. 4546 (and as has been further amended) and codified at section 6-37, Related Laws Section of Volume I, City Charter and Code (General Employees Pension Fund) is hereby amended by providing that any City of Atlanta officers and employees who receives a catastrophic injury in the line of duty, will receive 100% of the top salary for the grade and position that he/she occupied at the time of his/her injury.

2. The determination of whether a disability is catastrophic shall be in the sole discretion of the board by a preponderance of the evidence and as supported by official medical records, qualified medical expert opinions, sworn testimony and/or other such reliable source accepted by the board in its discretion. For the purposes of this Code Section, a catastrophic injury is a sudden, violent, life-threatening injury sustained by a member who is or was employed by the City at the time of the injury, which injury is due to an externally-caused event or events, as supported by evidence, including, but not specifically limited to, one of the conditions described below: (1) loss of sight in one or both eyes; (2) loss of one or both feet at or above the ankle; (3) loss of one or both hands at or above the wrist; (4) an injury to the spine that results in permanent and complete paralysis of both arms, both legs, or one arm and one leg, or; (5) an externally caused traumatic physical injury to the brain or skull that renders one physically or mentally unable to perform two or more Activities of Daily Living (feeding oneself, dressing, continence, bathing, toileting and transferring, i.e. getting in and out of bed), driving a motor vehicle, etc. or catastrophically disabled includes a permanent severely disabling injury or disorder that compromises the ability to carry out the activities of daily living to such a degree that the individual requires personal or mechanical assistance to leave home or bed or requires constant supervision to avoid physical harm to self or others.

3. This ordinance shall be retroactive and those persons who have received catastrophic injuries in the line of duty, while employed as City of Atlanta officer or employee, shall be eligible for review and adjustment of their pension in accordance with this section.

4. The Chief Financial Officer of the City of Atlanta shall identify any and all funding required to implement this ordinance.

5. As expressed and referenced in Resolution 01-R-1940, Adopted on November 19, 2001, it is the intent of the City Council to increase the monthly benefit of General Employees as it relates to catastrophic injury, to provide that the eligibility for said increased monthly pension benefit shall be retroactive, but that the payment of said benefit shall be prospective from the effective date of the passage of an ordinance providing for such benefit, and also as referenced in Ordinance 01-O-0976, Adopted on September 17, 2001 where the definition of catastrophic injury is contained.

(aa) Any officer or employee who is a member of the General Employee Pension Fund, and whose creditable service before credit for accrued unused sick leave equals at least 30 years shall be entitled to a monthly pension benefit upon retirement without any reduction for any age or vesting penalties as would otherwise be applicable.

(bb) Effective May 8, 2006, an employee of the City of Atlanta who must contribute amounts to the pension fund established under this act, 1927 Ga. Laws, page 265, as amended, to purchase credit for prior service with United Water Services Atlanta or previous service with the City of Atlanta pursuant to Ordinance 03-O-0193 may contribute eligible rollover distributions, as defined in the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code"), in payment of such amounts from (i) a plan described in Code sections 401(a) or 403(a) (excluding after-tax contributions); (ii) an annuity contract or custodial account described in Code section 403(b); (iii) an eligible plan described in Code section 457(b) that is maintained by a state, a political subdivision of a state or any agency or instrumentality of a state or political subdivision of a state; and (iv) an individual retirement account or annuity described in Code sections 408(a) or 408(b) to the extent such distribution from an IRA is eligible to be rolled over and would otherwise be includible in gross income. The employee shall at all times be fully vested in any benefit attributable to such rollover contributions.

[(cc) Involuntarily separation due to or in association with the Reduction in Force (RIF) between June 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.]

(a) Any officer or employee who is a member of the General Employees Pension Fund, who shall have served at least 15 years in the active service of the City, and who is involuntarily separated due to or in association with the Reduction in Force (RIF) between June 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008, may elect to take a monthly retirement benefit to be computed as follows: Said monthly retirement benefit shall be equal to a normal monthly pension benefit less one-fourth (¼) of one percent (1%) per month for each month not to exceed 60 months that the officer or employee lacks in being 60 years of age, and one-eighth (1/8) of one percent (1%) per month for each month in excess of 60 months that the officer or employee lacks in being 60 years of age.

(b) Any former officer or employee eligible to retire pursuant to this ordinance who has been involuntarily separated due to or in association with a RIF, but not due to disciplinary action, between June 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008 and has already applied for and/or has been granted a service pension, may make written application to the Pension Office within the two year reemployment rights period to receive the benefit authorized in subsection (a) of this Ordinance.

(c) Any former officer or employee eligible to retire pursuant to this ordinance who has been involuntarily separated due to or in association with a RIF, but not due to disciplinary action between June 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008 and has applied for and received a refund of his/her pension contribution, may, within the two year reemployment rights period, repay said contribution plus interest at a rate of (7%) seven percent annum from the date of withdrawal of his/her contribution, to the date that he/she makes written application to the Pension Office for the purpose of receiving the benefit authorized in subsection (a) of this Ordinance.

(d)

(i)

This ordinance shall not apply to officers or employees who are rehired by the City of Atlanta or whose services are retained by the City pursuant to a contract; (ii) Nor shall this ordinance apply to officers or employees who reject or have rejected an offer of reemployment made by the City, to a position comparable to that from which the officer or employee was RIFFED or involuntary separated in conjunction with the budgetary needs or other purposes. For officers or employees who were RIFFED or so involuntarily separated prior to the enactment of this ordinance, said enactment hereof. For officers of employees who are RIFFED or so involuntarily separated prior to the enactment of this ordinance, said offer of reemployment must be made within six (6) months of the enactment hereof. For officers or employees who are RIFFED or so involuntarily separated subsequent to the enactment of this ordinance, said offer of reemployment must be made within six (6) months of the date of separation of any such officer or employee. For purposes of this subsection, a "comparable position" shall be defined as one for which the compensation is equal to or no less than 90% of the compensation earned by such officer or employee at the time of separation.

The ordinances listed in the left-hand column below are found in the state session laws at the location listed opposite them in the right-hand column below:

Georgia Laws
Ord. No. Year Page
1985-49
1994-11
1994-37

 

 

It should be noted that, according to sections 4 and 5 of Ord. No. 1994-37, adopted 8-1-94, approved 8-1-94:

 

"Based on the number of retirees, only a predeterminated number or percentage of those vacant positions can be filled and only at step one (1). To exceed this number or percentage mayor and council approval is required.

The mayor is directed to present to council by the first meeting of December, 1994, not less than 25% and up to 50% of the number of general fund positions which were vacated as a result of this early retirement program for the purpose of abolishing the positions."

refmanual

The ordinances listed in the left-hand column below are found in the state session laws at the location listed opposite them in the right-hand column below:

Georgia Laws
Ord. No. Year Page
1985-94
1987-29
1994-45

 

(h) Any person coming under the provisions of this amendment, either voluntarily or by compulsion, shall be entitled to cost-of-living adjustments as hereinafter set forth. As used herein, the following terms shall have the following meaning:

(1) Current average cost-of-living index. The average of the monthly Consumer Price Index for the 12 month period from November 1 through October 31, prior to the annual adjustment date, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor for all items and major groups, United States city average.

(2) Pensioner base index. The average of the Consumer Price Index for the 12 month period ending two (2) months prior to the date of retirement for any participant who retires under the provisions of this amendment. In the event the base year used in computing the monthly Consumer Price Index should be changed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the board of trustees shall, with the advice of an independent actuary, adjust the pensioner base index of each retired pensioner and of each pensioner or beneficiary, with benefit payments commencing during the first year in which such change was made, so as to effect the original intent of this section in an equitable manner.

(3) Adjusted pensioner index. The pensioner base index, adjusted, on a cumulative basis, for all percentage adjustments made in benefits prior to the current annual adjustment date. The adjusted pensioner index and the pensioner base index shall be applicable to any beneficiary becoming entitled to benefits under this amendment in the same manner as they would have been applicable to the pensioner had such pensioner continued in life.

(4) Annual adjustment date. January 1 of each year.

The board of trustees shall ascertain in the current average cost-of-living index as of January 1 each year, and the benefits being paid under this amendment shall be adjusted as of the annual adjustment date as follows: If the current average cost-of-living index is more than 100 percent of the adjusted pensioner index, the benefit shall be increased by a percentage equal to the difference between 100 percent and the percentage representing the current average cost-of-living index divided by such person's adjusted pensioner index. If the current average cost-of-living index is less than 100 percent of the adjusted pensioner index, such person's basic benefit shall be reduced by a percentage equal to the difference between 100 percent and the percentage representing the current average cost-of-living index divided by his adjusted pensioner index.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection, no increase or decrease in the amount of the monthly retirement benefit due to changes in the current average cost-of-living index, effective at any annual adjustment date, shall be in excess of three percent (3%) of the amount of the monthly retirement benefit payable immediately prior to such date. Neither shall the provisions of this subsection be applied so as to reduce the amount of the benefits of a pensioner or beneficiary to an amount less than that to which such pensioner or beneficiary would be entitled to receive under the other provisions of this amendment.

(i) There shall be deducted from the total salary of any officer or employee electing to come under this amendment the sum of seven percent (7%), in the event such person does not provide for payment of a pension to such person's beneficiary, as authorized by this Act, as amended, or the sum of eight percent (8%) in the event such person does provide for the continuance of a pension to such person's beneficiary. Like deductions shall be made from the salary of future employees required to come under this amendment.

(j) (1) In addition to the payments required to be made in subsection (i) above, any officer or employee who becomes a participant under this amendment shall be entitled to all benefits and receive credit for all the years, or fraction thereof, of such person's creditable service, provided such person shall pay into the fund the sum of six percent (6%) of such person's total salary or earnings, received by such person during the years claimed for such creditable service, if such person does not provide for the payment of a pension to a beneficiary; and the sum of seven percent (7%) of such person's total salary or earnings, received during the years claimed for such creditable service, if such person does provide for the payment of a pension to a beneficiary. Payments previously made to the pension fund, not exceeding the amount due to the fund, shall be deducted from the total amount due in arriving at the total payment due, plus any additional sums as may be required by the following provisions for prior service credits. If any part of the creditable service consists of prior service, as defined by this Act, as amended, which was allowed and credited prior to this amendment, the percentages of salary or earnings, used in computing the sum to be paid for such prior service credit shall be twice those set forth above, and shall constitute both the employee and employer contributions. Provided further that payment for any such creditable service rendered on or after April 1, 1978, shall be twice the payment due as computed above.

Any officer or employee electing to come under the provisions of this amendment within 15 months subsequent to the enactment of this amendment, shall have a period of 60 months from the date of such election in which to pay all back pension contributions, as provided in this subsection, without interest. Any officer or employee electing to come under the provisions of this amendment, subsequent to the expiration of 15 months after the enactment of this amendment, shall have a period of 60 months from the date of such election in which to pay all back pension contributions, as provided in this subsection, and shall be required to pay interest on said back pension contributions at the rate of seven percent (7%) per annum from July 1, 1979, to the date of such payment. The board of trustees is authorized to establish rules and regulations for extending the period in which back pension contributions may be paid provided that interest in the amount of seven percent (7%) per annum shall be added to any amounts not paid within the above specified period. The board of trustees shall require as a prerequisite for the granting of such extension an assignment of life insurance in an amount sufficient to cover the outstanding obligation.

(2) Employee Back Pension Contributions; Deductions From Benefits; Assignment of Group Life Insurance Proceeds.

a. In the event an officer or employee obligated to pay back pension contributions should retire or die before said payments into the fund are completed, the secretary of the retirement fund is authorized to deduct an appropriate amount, as determined by the board of trustees, from the monthly retirement or beneficiary benefits, or in lieu thereof, such lump sum amounts as the board, in its discretion, deems appropriate until the obligation is discharged.

b. In the event an officer or employee obligated to pay back pension contributions should retire before said payments into the fund are completed, the board of trustees shall require, in consideration of the payment of such indebtedness, an assignment of such officer's or employee's group life insurance in an amount sufficient to satisfy the outstanding obligation. (1981 Ga. Laws, page 4376, § 4)

(k) (1) Any officer or employee coming under the provisions of this amendment shall be entitled to all of the forms and types of prior service authorized under the Act approved August 20, 1927 (1927 Ga. Laws, page 265 et seq.) as amended, prior to this amendment. Provided, however, contributions for any such prior service shall be based on the salary or wages then being earned by such officer or employee as and when such person becomes eligible for such prior service and such is credited.

To be eligible for such prior service credit, the officer or employee must have completed at least five (5) continuous years in the employment of the city, and must have filed, five (5) years prior thereto, an application with the board of trustees for such prior service credit. Thereafter prior service credit may be granted to such person eligible and continuing in the service of such city on a pay period basis (one (1) year of prior service credit, not to exceed a maximum of 10 years, for each year such person continues in the service of such city) upon the payment of contributions by such person for such prior service based on the wages or salary earned by such person at the time of such prior service being credited.

The contributions to be paid by such officer or employee, herein referred to, shall be at the rates set forth in subsection (i) above, plus the rates of the employer's contribution set forth in subsection (m).

(2) Credit for previous city service, contributions, payment. Any officer or employee claiming previous service credit for previous employment as a regular, temporary, or part-time employee of the city may be eligible for previous service credit immediately upon filing application for same, and upon payment of the contribution in accordance with the provisions set forth in subsection (I) of the 1978 Pension Act Amendment (1978 Ga. Laws, pages 4546, 4553) [subsection (j) of this section]; provided, however, the penalty provision of said subsection (I) shall be applicable only to such officers or employees who failed to elect enrollment under said 1978 Pension Act Amendment prior to July 1, 1979, and who terminated employment subsequent to April 1, 1978. The total amount of such required contributions shall be increased by a sum equal to the amount paid into the pension fund by a regular officer or employee and withdrawn upon termination of employment multiplied by an interest factor of seven percent (7%) per annum compounded from the date of termination to the date of filing of the application. The total amount of such required contributions, less a sum equal to the amount previously paid into the pension fund by a regular officer or employee and withdrawn upon termination of employment, shall be increased by an amount equal to such required contributions, less the said amount withdrawn multiplied by an interest factor of seven percent (7%) per annum compounded from the date of termination or July 1, 1979, whichever is later to the date of application. The total amount of such required contribution shall be decreased by the amount previously paid into the pension fund by a regular officer or employee and not withdrawn upon termination of employment plus an amount equal to seven percent (7%) per annum compounded of such amount not withdrawn from the date of termination to the date of filing of the application. As to credit for part-time or temporary service with the city, such previous service credit shall be on the basis of one (1) day for each day worked by such person as a temporary employee or on a part-time basis, except that the required contribution shall be based upon the gross salary of such person at the time of filing of the application for previous service credit. The payment of the contributions of previous service credit for previous employment as a regular, temporary, or part-time employee of the city may be paid upon the filing of the application for such credit or such officer or employee shall have a period of 60 months from the date of filing the application in which to pay such contributions; provided, however, the total amount of such contribution shall bear interest at seven percent (7%) per annum on the unpaid balance.

The board of trustees is authorized to establish rules and regulations for extending the period in which back pension contributions may be paid provided that interest in the amount of seven percent (7%) per annum shall be added to any amounts not paid within the above-specified period. The board of trustees shall require as a prerequisite for the granting of such extension an assignment of life insurance in an amount sufficient to cover the outstanding obligation.

(3) Credit for prior service with the Atlanta Housing Authority. Any person employed by the redevelopment division of the Atlanta Housing Authority whose position, duties or functions were transferred to the city effective either November 18, 1975, March, 1978 or February 1, 1981 and who remained an employee of the City until April 1, 1992, shall be eligible immediately to receive credit for all prior service rendered by such person as an employee of the redevelopment division of the Atlanta Housing Authority upon the following terms and conditions:

a. Such person shall make application for such credit and provide satisfactory proof of such service and earnings within ninety (90) days of the enactment of this amendment.

b. Such person must pay into the pension fund, an amount equal to the amount they would have paid had they been an employee of the City during this period, plus seven percent per annum simple interest on that amount from the first of their employment with the City of Atlanta through June 15, 1992.

c. Such payments for prior service credit may be paid upon filing an application for such credit or the person shall have a period of up to 84 months from the date of filing such application. Payments may be deducted from the employee's salary or from their pension benefits. Provided that the total amount due shall include interest at the rate of seven percent per annum on the unpaid balance.

d. Any employee who after receiving credit for service with the Atlanta Housing Authority was eligible to retire under the voluntary incentive program and who submitted a retirement application between April 1, 1992 and June 15, 1992, shall be entitled to retire retroactively to June 15, 1992. Provided, however, that pension benefits will be calculated without any credit for service, benefits and salary after June 12, 1992, and shall be paid commencing the day after the employee terminates employment with the City; such employee will receive a refund of their current pension contributions paid after June 12, 1992.

e. Entitlements specified under this subsection (3), shall be accorded to the aforementioned employees who are covered by pension provisions prior to the 1978 amendment. (Ord. No. 1992-73, § 1, 12-14-92)

The ordinances listed in the left-hand column below are found in the state session laws at the location listed opposite them in the right-hand column below:

Georgia Laws
Ord. No. Year Page
2000-13 1927 265
1978 4546

 

(o) The board of trustees is authorized to invest funds accumulated under this act in any manner permitted by the Public Retirement Systems Investment Authority Law, Ga. Stat. Ann. section 47-20-80, et seq., as amended.

 

The ordinances listed in the left-hand column below are found in the state session laws at the location listed opposite them in the right-hand column below:

Georgia Laws
Ord. No. Year Page
1992-45
1994-13

 

(p) Should an officer or employee in the employment of such cities transfer from a position of employment covered by another pension fund to a position of employment covered by this pension fund, the accumulated employee and employer contributions of such officer or employee paid to such other pension fund shall be transferred to this pension fund and such officer or employee shall be credited with all creditable service certified in such other pension fund as though such service had been rendered under this pension fund, and should an officer or employee in the employment of such cities subsequently become eligible for participation in the fund, the accumulated value of a defined contribution 401(a) plan may be applied towards the purchase of the full actuarial value of any prior years service credit that is eligible to such employee and such officer or employee shall be credited the full value of service as rendered under this fund in the amount of creditable service purchased based on the full actuarial value of such credit as determined by the fund's actuary, provided, however, that should such officer or employee retire as a matter of right within three (3) years subsequent to the date of such transfer. The service retirement benefits payable to such officer or employee shall be the lesser of the service retirement payable under the provisions of this Act, as amended, or the provisions of the pension fund from which such officer or employee transferred.

In addition, should an officer or employee in the employment of such cities subsequently eligible for participation in the Fund, such officer or employee shall be entitled to purchase (at the actuarial value) any prior years service credit for employment with such city. Such employee and such officer or employee shall be credited the full value of service as rendered under this fund in the amount of creditable service purchased based on the full actuarial value of such credit as determined by the fund's actuary.

(q) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act, as amended, regarding the rights of officers or employees to designate beneficiaries of their pension benefits after their death, every male or female officer, coming under the provisions of this amendment, either voluntarily or by compulsion, having a spouse or unmarried child or children (natural or legally adopted) under the age of 18 years, or domestic partner shall be compelled to make the necessary additional contributions in order to provide continued pension benefits for such spouse or unmarried child or children (natural or legally adopted) under the age of 18 years, or domestic partner and designated as beneficiaries.

Nothing herein provided shall prevent an officer or employee from designating a primary beneficiary (spouse or unmarried child or children (natural or legally adopted) under 18 years of age) or domestic partner and a secondary beneficiary (either spouse or unmarried child or children (natural or legally adopted) under 18 years of age or domestic partner and not named as primary beneficiary). If an officer or employee designates a beneficiary, and thereafter such beneficiary should cease to be qualified to receive a pension in the event of the member's death, then such officer or employee may at his or her option, designate some other beneficiary who does qualify for pension benefits under this amendment, and continue to make contributions for such beneficiaries, or should no qualified beneficiary exist, cease to make further contributions for beneficiaries, in which event contributions theretofore made for the benefit of a beneficiary shall not be refunded except insofar as refunds may be allowed by other provisions of this Act, as amended.

Should any officer or employee become eligible for a service pension and thereafter remain in the service of such city, then upon the death of such person, without having retired, the spouse of such person or registered domestic partner may apply for a beneficiary pension as provided for in this amendment, which shall continue for the life of such spouse. In the event of the death or disqualification of a spouse to receive such beneficiary pension, then the unmarried child or children (natural or legally adopted) under the age of 18 years shall succeed to the rights of such deceased or disqualified spouse, as above provided, and such beneficiary pension shall be continued to such child or children until the youngest living child shall reach the age of 18 years, die, or marry, whichever event should first occur. No child (natural or legally adopted) of such officer or employee shall be entitled to receive any benefits unless such child is less than 18 years of age and unmarried or unless such child is less than 23 years of age and enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited secondary school, college or university, and unmarried.

Any officer or employee coming under the provisions of this amendment either voluntarily or by compulsion, who, at such time, has no qualified beneficiary, either spouse or unmarried child or children under 18 years of age or registered domestic partner, shall not be required to make the contributions necessary to provide for the continuation of pension benefits to a beneficiary. Provided, however, upon the occurrence of the event by which such officer or employee acquires a qualified beneficiary, then such officer or employee shall immediately commence making required contributions to provide benefits for such beneficiary and shall within a period of two (2) years thereafter, in addition to current requirements, pay into the pension find one percent (1%) of his total salary or earnings for all creditable service prior to the occurrence of such event.

Any officer or employee, electing to come under the provisions of this Act, who prior thereto had a qualified beneficiary but who had not made the contributions to provide for the payment of continued pension benefits to such beneficiary, shall be required to pay to the pension fund the amount of such beneficiary contributions for the number of years of service with such city and during which such officer or employee had a qualified beneficiary, such payments to be at the rates and in the manner as set forth in subsection (j) hereof.

In the event that a member dies after retirement, either before or after receiving retirement payments, the named beneficiary, or the member's estate in the absence of a named beneficiary, shall receive a refund in an amount equal to the amount such member paid into said pension fund less the total amount received by such member or beneficiaries in retirement benefits. (Ord. No. 1985-94, § 2, 12-19-85; Ord. No. 2006-12, § 2, 3-23-06)