News for Local Boards
Preparing for Your February 2021 Local Board Meeting
It's time for the Chiefs of our TESRS Participating Departments
to begin reviewing their TESRS Active Roster for accuracy, gathering training
and emergency response reports, and tabulating calendar year 2020 qualified
service credit for members of the pension system.
Your L ocal Board must meet prior to February 24, 2021, to certify the Membership Reconciliation Report (MRR) for the period from September 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021 and must review, approve, and submit the 2020 Annual Report of each member's qualified service.
- The MRR must be certified at a meeting of the Local Board and submitted to Austin no later than February 24, 2021; and
- The 2020 Annual Report must be reviewed and approved at a meeting of the Local Board and submitted to Austin no later than February 28, 2021.
First Things First!
- Review your TESRS Active Roster.
- If members appear on the TESRS Active Roster who are no longer with your department, terminate their membership in the pension system (Form 504).
- Be sure you enroll active members of your department who have not been but should be enrolled in the system (Form 502). Active duty pension system members have death and disability benefits from day-one of their TESRS enrollment.
- TESRS forms are available at www.tesrs.org/forms-publications.
A recent rule change states that the governing body representative on the Local Board serves to ensure that the responsibilities of the Local Board and of the governing body are fulfilled, including the submission of local contributions to the system for each member of the department who performs emergency services (34 TAC §310.5).
Local Board Membership and Terms of Service
State law requires participating departments to establish and maintain a six-member Local Board to administer the retirement program (3 firefighters, 1 from the governmental entity, 2 from the community).
Trustees of a Local Board must serve staggered two-year terms. A vacancy on a local board is filled for the remainder of the unexpired term by the same procedure by which the position was originally filled.
Effective March 1, 2020, TESRS standardized Local Board members’ terms to begin on March 1. This change simplifies administration by establishing Local Board member terms for all departments and reduces the need for additional Local Board meetings to appoint members. (See below, Form 602A.)
Local Board Policies for Awarding Qualified Service
Local Boards representing departments with excessive call volumes should develop policies for its participating department relating to the requirements for percentage of attendance of emergencies, or the percentage of providing support services for emergencies in connection with the determination of whether a person is performing or has performed qualified service for purposes of the retirement system.
"Qualified service" is defined by Government Code Sec. 861.001 to mean service performed:
(A) for a participating department that conducts at least 48 hours of training in a calendar year; and
(B) by a member in good standing in the department who:
(i) attends at least 20 hours of annual training and at least 25 percent of the department's emergencies in a calendar year;
(ii) attends at least 20 hours of annual training and provides support services for at least 25 percent of the department's emergencies in a calendar year; or
(iii) does not attend because the member is absent because of military duty.
The Form 602A is a required report. This form reflects the Local Board officers, membership terms, and the approved on-line users of TOL beginning March 1, 2020. Form 602A is available on the TESRS website at https://www.tesrs.org/formspublications. Instructions are included with the form.
The User Confidentiality Agreement process has changed and signatures will be obtained electronically using DocuSign®. Ensure that you provide the name and accurate email address for each approved on-line user of TOL.
Approximately thirty days before the close of February and August, TESRS will send the MRR reports to the local pension board chairpersons. The MRR report is a roster of all active members and details department membership charges and
credits for the current period. If this report is incorrect, the local
pension board administrator will need to log on to TESRS Online to
correct pension records to reflect department rosters by adding
or terminating members. Membership changes need to be made at least 5
days before the end of February and August to ensure correct billings.
Departments are charged at the monthly contribution rate set by the local board under contract, which is called the 'Part One" or 'Member' contribution. The 'Part Two' or 'System' contribution will also be included on invoices, if the TESRS Board of Trustees has instituted that contribution type to make the System actuarially sound. All contribution charges will be assessed in monthly increments, but totaled on a semi-annual basis.
TESRS will send an invoice for your Department’s
Retirement System contributions at the end of each billing period for each member currently
enrolled in the system. Many departments
fail to update their TESRS enrollment rosters and they end up paying contributions
for those who are no longer members of the Department. Here are the steps that
you should take to properly update the pension system.
Ask for help. Call TESRS at (800) 919-3372 or email us at email@example.com.
Print your MRR. Ask your Department's authorized user of the TESRS On-Line system to print the semi-annual Membership Reconciliation Report (MRR) that was created in the system. It is a "pre-bill" detailing the pending charges for Retirement System contributions. Email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org if don't have on-line access and need to request a copy to review.
Check the MRR.
Reconcile your Department’s membership roster against the Retirement System’s
list reflected on the MRR. Identify those members you need to add and those
members you need to terminate from enrollment in the Retirement System.
Enroll your members.
The most important step is to enroll your new members into the Retirement
System as soon as possible. This will ensure that each member of your
Department is covered by TESRS on-duty death and disability benefits. (A
description of this process is described here)
Terminate inactive members. Don't pay monthly contributions for inactive members. (A description of this process is described here)
Wait for the changes
to process. Changes to your
Retirement System enrollment and your MRR may take a few days. We will process
your forms, update your Department's Retirement System membership roster, and regenerate
a new MRR which will reflect your changes. Print out the revised MRR (or
contact TESRS for a copy) and make sure your changes were properly entered into
the Retirement System’s database.
Schedule a Local Board meeting. Conduct a Local Board meeting to formally review and approve the accuracy of the MRR (required). Have your TESRS On-line user to certify the approved MRR by enter the Local Board meeting date into the on-line MRR and submitting the report.
At the close of business on the last day of each February and August, TESRS will invoice departments based on membership in the pension system on that date. All invoices are payable within 30 days from the invoice date or interest charges will accrue.
Service Retirement Certificate (SRC) - Appeal Process
The TESRS Benefits Specialist will review the Service Retirement Certificate (SRC) and will contact the member to discuss their concerns. If
the review of TESRS information results in a change in their qualified service history and/or proposed
benefit amount, an amended SRC will be sent to the member for their review and approval.
If the review of TESRS information does not change the member's qualified history and/or proposed benefit amount, TESRS will refer their disagreement about their SRC to the Local Board for review. If the Local Board discovers that there have been errors in reporting, the Local Board will correct the error by notifying a TESRS Benefits Specialist. TESRS will process the correction and an amended SRC will be sent to the member for their review and approval.
If the member disagrees with the information provided on the final, amended SRC or the amount of their retirement benefit, they may appeal the decision to the TESRS State Board in accordance with the provisions of Government Code §864.016