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Thursday, February 02, 2012

New York City required to pay the 3% employees’ contribution for retirement on behalf its Tier III police officers and firefighters

New York City required to pay the 3% employees’ contribution for retirement on behalf its Tier III police officers and firefighters
Lynch v City of New York, Supreme Court, New York County, Justice Carol Edmead, Index 650822 [Not selected for publication in the Official Reports]

New York City currently pays “one half of the rate” of employee contributions for retirement that it had earlier assumed* on behalf of its Tier I and Tier II members of the New York City Police Pension Fund and the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund. The City had assumed making such contributions in order to provide such individuals with “increased take-home pay.”

The City, however, discontinued making “employee contributions” on behalf of police and fire personnel enrolled as Tier III members of those retirement systems effective July 1, 2009. Such enrollees were otherwise required to pay 3% of their annual compensation as an employee contribution for 25 years.

Justice Edmead ruled that the City of New York violated §480(b)(i) and (ii) of the Retirement and Social Security Law when it commenced to require New York City police officers and firefighters initially appointed on or after July 1, 2009 to pay the full employee contributions otherwise required to the New York City Police Pension Fund and to the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, as the case may be, upon their enrollment as Tier III members of their respective retirement systems.

The court rejected the City’s claim that such police officers and firefighters were required to pay the statutorily required 3% of their annual compensation as their "employee contribution" toward retirement “for 25 years,” explaining that when the relevant provisions of law were initially enacted there was no expectation that eventually a Tier III [and additional Tiers] might be established by these Retirement Systems.

Finding that RSSL §480(b) is applicable to police officers and firefighters who are in Tier III, Justice granted the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York, the Captain’s Endowment Association of the City of New York and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association motion for summary judgment.

* See RSSL §480(b)(i)

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