Public Employees Retirement System
- board review of legislative proposals
(1)The Public Employees Retirement Fund is declared to be a trust fund, separate and distinct from the General Fund, for the uses and purposes set forth in this chapter and ORS chapter 238A and ORS 237.950 (Pre-1953 Public Employees Retirement System abolished) to 237.980 (Rights and moneys exempt from taxation, execution and bankruptcy and are unassignable), and for no other use or purpose, except that this provision shall not be deemed to amend or impair the force or effect of any law of this state specifically authorizing the investment of moneys from the fund. Interest earned by the fund shall be credited to the fund. Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, the Public Employees Retirement Board established by ORS 238.630 (Board generally) is declared to be the trustee of the fund. Consistent with the legislative intent expressed in ORS 238.601 (Legislative findings and intent), and to the extent it is consistent with the board’s fiduciary duties, the board shall give equal consideration to the interests of participating public employers and the interests of members. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to impose a fiduciary duty on the board to consider the interests of public employers, and the board shall consider the interests of public employers only with respect to matters unrelated to the board’s fiduciary duties as trustee of the fund.
(2)Until all liabilities to members and their beneficiaries are satisfied, assets of the fund may not be diverted or otherwise put to any use that is not for the exclusive benefit of members and their beneficiaries. This subsection does not limit return of employer contributions for health benefits in the manner provided by ORS 238.410 (Board may contract for insurance for retirees), 238.415 (Payment toward cost of pre-Medicare insurance) and 238.420 (Payment toward cost of Medicare supplemental insurance) upon satisfaction of all liabilities for health benefits under those sections.
(3)The State of Oregon and other public employers that make contributions to the fund have no proprietary interest in the fund or in the contributions made to the fund by them. The state and other public employers disclaim any right to reclaim those contributions and waive any right of reclamation they may have in the fund. This subsection does not prohibit alteration or refund of employer contributions if the alteration or refund is authorized under this chapter or ORS chapter 238A and is due to erroneous payment or decreased liability for employer contributions under the system. This subsection does not prohibit the offset of contributions to the individual account program under ORS 238.229 (Effect of lump sum payment to side account on contributions of pooled employer) (5).
(4)The board may accept gifts of money or other property from any source, given for the uses and purposes of the system. Money so received shall be paid into the fund. Money or other property so received shall be used for the purposes for which received. Unless otherwise prescribed by the source from which the money or other property is received, the money shall be considered as income of the fund and the other property shall be retained, managed and disposed of as are investments of the fund.
(5)All moneys paid into the fund shall be deposited with the State Treasurer, who shall be custodian of the fund and pay all warrants drawn on it in compliance with law. No such warrant shall be paid until the claim for which it is drawn is first approved by the director or designee and otherwise audited and verified as required by law. Monthly, each beneficiary’s gross benefit shall be calculated; applicable deductions made for taxes, insurance and other withholdings; and the net amount paid to the beneficiary, by check or by electronic funds transfer (EFT) to the beneficiary’s bank. A deduction summary shall be made, by type, and a check issued for the aggregate of each type for transmittal to the appropriate taxing jurisdiction, vendor or institution. A voucher shall be prepared and transmitted to the Oregon Department of Administrative Services for reimbursement of the checking account, and the department shall draw a warrant on the State Treasurer, payable to the Public Employees Retirement System, for the amount thereof.
(6)Any warrant, check or order for the payment of benefits or refunds under the system out of the fund issued by the board which is canceled, declared void or otherwise made unpayable pursuant to law because it is outstanding and unpaid for a period of more than two years, may be reissued by the board without bond if the payee is located after such warrant, check or order is canceled, declared void or otherwise made unpayable pursuant to law.
(7)All references in this chapter to checks or warrants are subject to the provisions of ORS 291.001 (Use of accounting terms).
(8)The board shall provide for an annual audit of the retirement fund and for an annual report to the Legislative Assembly and to all members of, retirees of, and all employers participating in, the system. The annual report must contain financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The financial statements must include the report of any independent auditor.
(9)The board may review legislative proposals for changes in the benefits provided under this chapter and ORS chapter 238A and may make recommendations to committees of the Legislative Assembly on those proposed changes. In making recommendations under this subsection, the board acts as a policy advisor to the Legislative Assembly and not as a fiduciary. In making recommendations under this subsection on the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan established by ORS chapter 238A, the board shall seek to maintain the balance between benefits and costs, and the relative risk borne by employers and employees with respect to investment performance, reflected in ORS chapter 238A as in effect on January 1, 2004.
(10)The board shall appoint a committee to advise the board on legislative proposals for changes in the benefits provided under this chapter and ORS chapter 238A. The committee must have an equal number of members representing labor and management. No costs of reviewing legislative proposals and making recommendations under this subsection may be charged to the fund. Any member of the committee who is an active member of the system shall be released by the participating public employer who employs the member for the purpose of conducting the official business of the committee, and the wages or salary of the member may not be reduced by the employer during periods that the member is released from duty for the purpose of conducting the official business of the committee. [Formerly 237.271; 1997 c.121 §1; 1999 c.317 §8; 1999 c.407 §6; 2001 c.945 §3; 2003 c.17 §2; 2003 c.625 §29; 2003 c.733 §60; 2009 c.889 §2]
Notes of Decisions
Provision does not create individual fiduciary relationships between PERB and every PERS member or impose tort liability for inaccurate account estimates. Bell v. PERB, 239 Or App 239, 247 P3d 319 (2010), Sup Ct review denied
Atty. Gen. Opinions
Fiduciary duties of officers, public bodies and employees to PERF, (1993) Vol 46, p 506; distinction between participating employers and plan beneficiaries, (1997) Vol 49, p 1
Law Review Citations
96 OLR 249 (2017)