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When is the next meeting?

Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month. 

LEGISLATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS

Contributions to the Legislative Fund can be made at any time, with a separate check made payable to:

RFFOW Legislative Fund 9134 207th Place SW, Edmonds, WA 98026.

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS

We would also like to thank all the members who make a $3.00 contribution when paying their annual dues via check or by payroll deduction. Your contribution allows our voice to be heard and is very much appreciated!! We only list the amount if the donation is above $25.00.

JOIN THE RETIRED FIREFIGHTERS OF WASHINGTON (RFFOW)


Whether you're Prior Act, LEOFF I, LEOFF II, Federal or Private, the Retired Firefighters of Washington is for YOU!

The Retired Firefighters of Washington is the only politically active organization dedicated to, and representing, the interest of all retired firefighters of Washington State and their families. Countless hours are spent in Olympia, on behalf of retired firefighters, working with our state's Representatives to maintain, secure, and improve our pensions as they apply to the retired firefighters, their families, and surviving spouses.

In addition to this serious work, The RFFOW provides a means for retired firefighters and their spouses to keep in touch with each other, pass along information and have some fun! We have monthly meetings, held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month (except June, July & August) where members have the opportunity to not only meet old friends but to hear the latest regarding pension issues.

So, if you're not already a member of the Retired Firefighters of Washington, we encourage you to join. There is strength in numbers. We are already a powerful voice in Olympia but the greater the numbers the louder the voice to be heard.


To join, just print and fill out a membership application. Print and fill out this payroll deduction form if you are already a member and want to pay dues via payroll deduction.

Mail Applications to:
Retired Firefighters of Washington
9134 - 20
7th Place SW
Edmonds, WA 98026

Questions? (425) 775-9080 info@rffow.org


President’s May Message

By Richard C. Warbrouck

I don’t know if you noticed or not, but we didn’t have an April Newsletter.  The reason is that the 2021 Legislature didn’t come to a close until April 25th, and we didn’t want to make a report until the session was finalized.  I was out of town for two weeks, from April 26th, the day after the legislature ended, to May 10, 2021.  I didn’t want you looking for the April Newsletter or thinking that, for some reason, we may have missed sending it to you.  I have received several calls and email inquiring about the April Newsletter and thought I should explain.  This May Newsletter put us back on schedule.  You should receive a Newsletter each month for the remaining of the year except for July, which is the only month during the summer that we don’t send a Newsletter.

I am pleased to report that SB 5453, another attempt to transfer the LEOFF I Retirement Fund and the reported forty-one percent surplus reported to be 1.66 billion dollars, failed.  Keep in mind that the surplus is not in a drawer, bank account, or in any investment.  It’s based on the projection of future earnings, experience factors, or liability.

The current market value of the LEOFF I Retirement Fund is 6,005,425, 373 (6 billion, 005 million, 425 thousand, 3 hundred and 73 dollars).  To determine if the fund is fully funded today, we would deduct today’s projected pension liability from the market value to determine our true, current funding level.

The need, desire, or interest in merging the LEOFF I Fund with the TERS Fund may have been reduced by the windfall of funds coming from increased revenue reports and grants from the federal government.  It was reported that the State would receive approximately 1.2 billion in increased revenue and two federal grants, one for 1.2 billion and one designated for schools at 1.2 billion.  These figures are from memory and may not be correct as I don’t have the report in front of me and my memory is a little fuzzy after two weeks of vacation.  The budget passed includes an 800 million dollar contribution to the TERS I Fund, although all of the money won’t be transferred until 2024, when the State receives the final federal grant monies.

I want to thank those of you who called, emailed, or forwarded letters to legislators in regards to SB 5453.  Maybe we once again convinced them that transferring the LEOFF I surplus was not the legal or moral thing to do.  I still don’t understand why they included LEOFF II benefits in a LEOFF I TERS I bill.  LEOFF II benefits should have been addressed in a stand-alone bill.  Maybe the LEOFF II benefits were included to gain the support of the Washington State Council of Firefighters (WSCFF) and the LEOFF II members for SB 5453.

(To read past President's Messages, click here)

____________________

Winter 2021 News

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The Last Resort Fire Department Needs our Help

Galen Thomaier E18 SFD retired in1993, has been the Official Historian of the Seattle Fire Department for 32 years. He and his dad and brother started collecting SFD fire trucks years ago and formed the Last Resort Fire Department, a 501" c" 3 nonprofit organization. To keep the collection and their museum at the Seattle Fire Department headquarters operating costs over $15,000 per year to maintain. They have depended on the Seattle Shares and the Combined Charities program for much of their funding. Then in 2019, when the City stopped the program, that left them with no funding source. So they need funding right now because they have been without funding for over a year. If you have a PayPal account, you can make a monthly or one-time donation on their website (www.lastresortfd.org ). Monthly would be best because they would have a steady stream of funds they can depend on. You can also send a check directly to the Last Resort Fire Department: 1433 NW 51 St. Seattle, WA. 98107. All donations to the Last Resort Fire Department are tax-deductible. Jerry Rogers and Frank Harshfield donated $200. If people could match that, it would be great, but any amount would be welcome. Jerry reminds us that the Last Resort Fire Department has a long history of representing our department's history. In my case, I might be a little late because my Grandfather Frank Harshfield, SFD Fire Marshal, retired in 1937 and then was the Chief of plant protection in WWII at Boeing. I would like to honor him. 

If you have questions, call me. Frank Harshfield (360) 387-1600

Letters from WWII Veterans


After December 7, 1941, I joined the State Guard to help protect the City of Seattle from Japan. Then, the draft came up. In October of 1942, I joined the Naval Reserve. I spent the first two years working in the engine shop at Pier 41 in Seattle. In 1944, the Navy came out with a directive that all shore-side personnel would be sent overseas to finish the war with Japan. I was sent to New Caledonia, where I picked up my sub chaser, a 110-foot wooden vessel. We ended up with the U.S. Navy fleet heading for Okinawa. Sunday, Easter morning 1945, at 4 AM, we hoisted the flag for the invasion to start at Blue Beach on Okinawa. I was in those waters until the end of the War. I was called back into active service during the Korean War as I was in the Naval Reserve. We escorted five LST’s with troops to occupy Korea. Following the War, I married Pat. Being in the Navy Reserve, I got called back and sent to the Naval Reserve Fleet at Tongue Point, Oregon. I spent 14 months there, leading a crew activating the main engines on any of the ships in the mothball fleet. My wife and I are enjoying our retirement years in our home in the warm beach area.

-Robert Watson

Next RFFOW Meeting


The meeting on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, at 11:00 am is CANCELLED due to Omicron. 

PENSION REPORT

May Pension Report

by: Ray Sanderson

The National Institute on Retirement Security has published a March 2021 study “AMERICANS’ VIEWS OF STATE & LOCAL EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT PLANS” by Dan Doonan and Kelly Kenneally.

The past year has presented unprecedented global health challenges that also triggered a deep economic crisis. In the U.S., the arrival of COVID-19 in early 2020 resulted in a large-scale economic shutdown to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The result has been persistent and deep economic hardship across certain segments of the population, job losses and high unemployment. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. economy shrank by 3.5 percent in 2020, pushing economic growth to a low not seen since 1946.

During the pandemic, the role of state and local public employees has become increasingly important. From first responders to public health professionals to teachers, more than 18 million individuals who are employed by state and local government continue to make integral activities and services available to their communities. Not surprisingly, recent research finds that the pandemic and economic crisis are taking a toll on the state and local employees. Since the early days of the pandemic, negative job sentiment is on the rise, feelings that the risks they are taking during the pandemic are not on par with their compensation has jumped, and many have been negatively impacted financially by the pandemic.

At the same time, the past several decades have seen dramatic changes to the U.S. retirement system that have undermined retirement for large portions of the U.S. workforce. Much of the workforce lacks an employer-sponsored retirement plan, fewer workers have stable and secure defined benefit pensions, while 401(k)-style defined contribution individual accounts shift costs and risks to workers and typically lack lifetime income that pools longevity risks. Today, most Americans are not on track for a secure retirement. Moreover, the economic fallout from the pandemic may create substantial uncertainty about financing retirement that could trigger Americans to work longer or rethink retirement altogether.

One bright spot when it comes to retirement is related to the benefits provided to state and local employees. Most public employees continue to receive pensions as their primary retirement benefit, and often times the pension is supplemented by individual savings and Social Security. A wide body of research indicates that workers with these three sources of retirement income are best positioned to have a secure retirement.

In 2018, state and local pension plans served 32.8 million Americans, including 14.7 million active participants, 6.9 million inactive members, and 11.2 million retirees and other beneficiaries receiving regular benefit payments. Benefit payments in 2018 totaled $308.7 billion, for an average benefit payment of $2,335 per month, or $28,019 per year. In addition to providing retirement security for workers who often have lower salaries than their private sector counterparts, pensions also serve as an important workforce management tool to recruit and retain workers.

In response to the 2008 global financial crisis, state and local governments have taken steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of public pensions and to recover the deep investment losses that all investors experienced in the following. The 2008 global market crash reduced public pension fund asset values from $3.15 trillion in 2007 to $2.17 trillion in 2009. Since then, every state has passed reforms to one or more of its pension plans. The changes took different forms throughout the country – from increasing employee contributions to raising retirement ages.

DOWNLOADS


Click Here to download the Personal Information Packet

In Memoriam 

  •  Fern D. Frombach, the widow of retired Firefighter Edsel Frombach, passed away on 02/02/21. 
  •  Leslie D. Bickford, Captain retired from Seattle FD, passed away on 02/17/2021. 
  • Grant M. Allen, Battalion Chief retired from Seattle FD, passed away on 02/18/21.  
  • Robert Allene Anderson, Firefighter retired, passed away on 04/10/2021. 
  •  John M. Ahrens, Firefighter retired from Seattle FD, passed away on 04/11/2021. Ronald L. Coulter, Captain retired from Seattle FD, passed away on 04/22/21.
  •  Dennis Dempsey retired from Seattle FD on 6-12-2021
  • Susan Pemble wife of Donald Pemble retired Seattle FD 5-28-2021
  • Ruth Collingridge widow of Herbert Collingridge Seattle FD 1-10-2021

Regarding In Memoriam Information

We have received questions regarding the death notices. Often we receive death notices for firefighters and spouses who are not members of the Retired Firefighters of Washington. Unless we recognize the name we don’t have any information regarding the city, fire agency or fire station where they worked. We thank you for your understanding and for caring for those who have passed.


-RFFOW

Retired Firefighters of Washington © 2013
9134 - 207th Place SW, Edmonds, WA 98026 • 425-775-9080
Questions or Comments? Email at: info@rffow.org