SUPPORT HB 1923 - PSERS



SUPPORT HB 1923:  Includes JRA, along with DSHS institutions, in the Public Safety Employees Retirement System (PSERS)

PROBLEM: 

Current pension policy leaves key facts unaddressed.

  • Job Classes within DSHS and job classes currently included in PSERS have very similar job duties. They work with similar populations who can be felony offenders, have extreme mental health issue, in work places that have violent working conditions and require some sort of defensive tactics training as a condition of employment.
  • Current pension policy recognizes that Police, Firefighters Park rangers, the Department of Corrections personnel, County Juvenile Detention workers and others, all work in professions in which the conditions of employment justify retirement ages that are earlier than the normal age of 65. This recognition has helped form the current LEOFF and PSERS retirement systems.
  • DSHS was included as an eligible employer groups for the PSERS system in the original bill, but it was taken out before the bill passed the legislature in 2005.

SOLUTION:

Job classifications within DSHS agencies should be eligible for the PSERS retirement system:

  • Mental Health hospitals (Mental Health Division)
  • Residential Habilitation Centers (Department of Developmental Disabilities)
  • The Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, to include JRA institutions, Parole and Community facilities.

The following job classes should be eligible for the PSERS retirement system:

  • Job classes with unsupervised direct exposure to the clients served.
  • Defensive Tactics or some manner of de-escalation training is a mandatory condition of employment.
  • The supervisor of the above job classifications.
  • The duties performed closely resemble positions already included in PSERS:
    • Analogous positions exist at the county or city level
    • Clients served are in an institutional setting or exhibit frequent criminal behavior
    • Comparable conditions of violence levels and threats on employee safety

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