By Todd Spitzer, Chairman of the OC Board of Supervisors
The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a pension reform proposal by OCFA Director Todd Spitzer to allow newly-hired executive management employees aged 60 or older to opt out of a pension. The proposal was made possible by a pension system regulation that was ratified at the urging of then-Supervisor/now-Senator Patricia Bates, who is also a former OCFA Director.
“This is as far as state law will allow for moving OCFA executive management employees into 401(k)-style retirement plans,” OCFA Director Spitzer said. “Before OCFA approved this policy, OCFA executive management employees could not even refuse to enroll in a pension plan. Now, new OCFA executives who are at least 60 years old will be able to decide on an individual basis if they want to have a defined benefit pension plan or a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan.”
The newly-adopted proposal is the furthest possible move toward 401(k)-style retirement plans for OCFA executive management employees allowed by California Government Code Section 31552.
“I am appreciative and thankful to then-Supervisor/now-Senator Bates for her work in gaining ratification of the regulations that made this policy possible,” Spitzer said. “I have gained passage of this policy for all employees at the County, IHSS Public Authority, LAFCO, TCA, and OCTA, and I will continue my effort to get this policy adopted by other government agencies across Orange County.”
In November, Bates obtained ratification for the regulations permitting employers like the County to adopt a policy allowing its new employees aged 60 or over to opt out of the pension system. Spitzer gained passage of this policy for all employees of the County of Orange and the In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority in January, LAFCO and TCA in February, and OCTA in March. In February, the Children and Families Commission unanimously approved this policy for its employees.