RCFFA Reedy Creek Fire Fighters Assoc IAFF Local 2117
FRS Florida Retirement System Update
Here are some updates dealing with current firefighter issues:
The Florida Firefighters Employment, Standards, and Training Council met earlier this month. In this meeting, the Florida State Fire College in Ocala announced they will be conducting a job task analysis to determine their current level of effectiveness. This will be done in the form of a survey that will be sent out by email, regular mail, and phone calls. The purpose of this is to insure the classes that are being offered are relevant and practical to your job. FSFC plans to contact at least 10% of all firefighters in the state.
FSFC has received additional revenue from the Legislature and has used it to purchase 2 new pumpers, make improvements to their burn building and burn pit, add a new security system and lighting to their campus, and have added additional personnel and classes.
The current Fire Safety Inspector and Fire Instructor test are being reviewed and revised this year. Each test is reviewed every 4 years for their effectiveness. Haz Mat and Florida USAR test reviews will be completed by December and Spring 2015, respectively.
Curriculum is being developed for a Fire Safety Officer certification. It will be based on the current NFPA standards and hopefully be in place in 2015. There will be several new courses for FO1 and FO2 certifications dealing with firefighter suicide and CISD. Some of these courses will be offered at the safety conference in Orlando in December.
There is a major effort for additional research dealing with solar panels on roofs and the problems in ventilation. So far, there are no definitive guidelines dealing with this.
The first phase of the Fallen Firefighter Memorial at Tallahassee will be completed before the start of the Legislative session in April 2015. The memorial will be located between the old Capital and new Capital. It was done entirely with private donations and will represent all firefighters in the state of Florida.
Former Reedy Creek Training Chief Mike Tucker has been appointed as the Safety Compliance Officer at FSFC. His job is to investigate all firefighter on the job injuries and deaths.
By mid 2015, FF standards/EMT will be combined into one course in order to be eligible for Pell grants.
Earlier this month a judge in the Miami-Dade circuit court declared part of the Florida worker’s comp law to be unconstitutional. It has to do with the “exclusivity” the law. This means that for workers who are injured on the job, their only remedy for compensation is through worker’s comp. You are not allowed to opt out of worker’s comp and sue your employer for damages. If you give up your constitutional right to sue for damages, you have to have another financial course of action. If you are not permanently or totally disabled, you only receive benefits up to Maximum Medical Improvement. To get additional lost wages, you have be totally or permanently disabled. Many firefighter injuries result in employees not being able to perform as a firefighter, but will allow you to work in a desk job. Your earn capacity is reduced and your salary takes a hit. You are not compensated under the current law. Florida is the only state that pays nothing for a partial loss of earning capacity. This judge has rules that was unconstitutional. The state has promised to appeal this decision. Stay tuned.
In a matter regarding FRS, the Florida League of Cities had their annual conference this month. There were several incumbent legislators and hopeful candidates in attendance when they unveiled their legislative objectives concerning pension reform. Their bottom line is they do not believe any municipality (state, county, or city) should be in the pension business and are working to legislate that. They constantly site the unfunded liability of FRS. That is currently around $20 billion out of a $160 billion fund and is spread out of a 30 year period. The current governor repeatedly refers this amount, to show the amount of money FRS is short, leaving the state on the hook for the difference. This applicable only if every employee in FRS retires at once and demands all of their earned benefits at one time. It is similar to a bank requesting you pay your entire mortgage at one time instead of over time. It is possible, but highly unlikely. The League uses several cities as examples that have had pension problems, mostly due to underfunding them (Delray Beach, Naples, Ocala, Miami, and many more). This was due to either poor administrative decisions and/or reduced tax revenue. They have a lot of wide sweeping proposals which they openly admit would devastate FRS. These proposals include eliminating the current Defined Benefit plan (pension option) and replacing it with a more risky Defined Contribution plan (investment option). This would make your pension more subjected to the ebb and flow of the stock market. They would also like to eliminate the DROP and lump sum payout (investment option), lower the current 3% multiplier, and an increase in the employee contribution. The League admits there are no immediate savings and there is a real probability the employee will outlive their benefits. The likelihood of all this occurring in one legislative session is not very high, but the League’s past history has been to whittle away and get their proposals implemented over a period of time.
This is an extremely important election this year, so everyone needs to know where their state legislators stand on these issues. The Florida House and Senate will have a greater impact on your life than the President and United States Congress. I will attempt to send out future notices to show each candidate’s position when it comes to pensions and firefighter safety. Be assured, the Florida Professional Firefighters are committed to maintaining our current level of benefits and will strongly fight any effort to reduce them.
Sergeant At Arms, Florida Professional Firefighters
RCFFA Reedy Creek Fire Fighters Assoc International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2117
343 Hero Challenge Charity fundraiser
343 hero challenge
September 13 2014
7:00a.m. – 3:30pm
343 hero challenge
Don’t miss out on this exciting event!...
September 13 2014
7:00a.m. – 3:30pm
Orange County Fire rescue Training Facility
2976 Forsyth Rd.
Winter Park, FL 32792
The best of the best will compete in a judged athletic competition featuring a Crossfit style type workout.
• RX ,Scaled, and Masters Division
• Open to the public
Watch Central Florida’s elite compete in a unique and challenging competition organized by some of the industry’s top adventure course designers.
Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity to support a worthy cause and have a great time with fitness industry professionals and Central Florida’s public safety officers
Health and Safety professionals will be on hand with valuable information at our on-site health and safety booths.