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October 15, 2018
SS Update Nov. 29th 2011
Posted On: Dec 07, 2011

Here is another update regarding Social Security. PFFI President Ron
Davies, PFFI Attorney Alan Herzfeld and I met with State Controller
Director Brandon Woolf, State Social Security Manager Rita Foltman and
Special Deputy to the Attorney General Dave High on Tuesday, November

We were informed that the Controller’s office has identified 171
employers in the State that could have employees that fall under the
definition of Firefighter as contained in the State code. They have
mailed surveys to all of these employers to confirm eligibility and
have only received about 2/3 of them back so far.  One of the very
large hurdles they are facing is investigating consolidations,
mergers, dissolutions and contracts for services that have taken place
in these jurisdictions over the past 30 years and making sure all
eligible employees are part of the voting process. Another factor that
they are looking at for eligibility is that the date of 10/1/1980 is
when SS taxes began to be withheld from most FF’s in the State. Once
all eligible voters are identified, The Controller’s office will begin
to send out letters to all jurisdictions notifying them whether they
are eligible or not. At this point, the Controller’s office has
identified approximately 733 eligible voters. I have a ballpark number
of 892 based on all of the FRF Departments in the State. We are
hopeful that their number will fall more in line with ours as the
missing surveys are returned.

As far as timelines and the vote process go, they must give a 90 day
notice to all eligible voters of when a referendum vote shall be held.
If any eligible voters are deployed military personnel, there must be
an additional 60 days added to notice of the vote. The Controller’s
office informed us that they have identified 3 deployments in the
State and have confirmed that all three of them have returned. Brother
Gardner subsequently has been deployed as of this morning. So it
appears at this time that the notice timeline will be 150 days. The
Controller’s office is still moving forward with a statewide
referendum vote. We gave them factual information to consider to hold
a “deemed” vote. (This would be an entity by entity vote for each
jurisdiction) Information we provided them was that there are 22 FRF
Departments in the State and that 11 of them hold less than 3% of the
voting population in each location and actually 7 of those 11 hold
less than 1.5% of the vote based on our numbers for eligible voters.
This becomes problematic as smaller departments may not and have not
been given the opportunity to negotiate the ongoing 6.2% employer’s
portion and the 3 years, 3 months & 14 days of the back pay due to the
employer as well. We also offered to assist with the financial burden
that could come from holding the vote by assisting with ballot
printing, envelope printing as well as postage to send ballots to all
eligible voters. They assured us that they will take all of the
information under advisement and get back to us if that option would
be considered.

We were also notified that addresses for all voting members will be
from the database at the PERSI office. Please be sure to contact PERSI
or sign on to your account to confirm your current address is on
record there or you may not receive a ballot during the voting period.
We also need to make certain that the proper forms are filed in timely
fashion to be eligible for the back pay if a vote would result in
getting out of SS. Also if back pay is granted, the Employer’s portion
is taxable upon receipt. Another critical part is that any ballots not
returned will be counted as a vote to be out of SS, in other words, if
your ballot is lost in the mail, your vote will be to get out of SS
even if that was not your selection.

Once the Voting period is determined, there will be education provided
from different entities explaining the vote, and ramifications of a
yes or no outcome. They will attempt to hold these educational
opportunities around the State, and we are hopeful that there will be
multiple days offered to fall in line with our shift work schedules
and the ability for all to attend. There is likely to be a class held
in the Coeur D’ Alene area, one in the Boise area and one in the East,
either Idaho Falls or Pocatello. Education should include effects of
the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) & the Government Pension
Offset (GPO) provision within Social Security, the loss of disability
coverage if removed from SS, The effects on your PERSI retirement
elections involving SS as well as the removal of credits in the event
of a vote to be out of SS.

Please be thinking of questions you would like to have answered and if
you could, forward them to me so that we can get a head start in
getting factual answers when these educational forums are held.

As always, If you have questions, you know how to reach me.


Tom Lovell

CDA Fire Fighters
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