February 2, 2013 - We received some sad news this month.
Retired Fire Fighter and former State Senator Larry Vognild passed away on January 4, 2014. Larry was a retired City of Everett Battalion Chief. Larry was recruited to run against incumbent Senator August Mardesich, an ardent opponent of the State pension systems. Mardesich was the leader along with Representative Helen Sommers, Representative Joe Taller and Senator Bud Shinpoch in closing LEOFF I and establishing the Plan II. Senator Vognild quickly became a leader in the Senate, held office for 16 years and remained a friend of the fire and police. Larry often weighed in on LEOFF issues that have surfaced since he left the Senate.
We were saddened to hear that Senator Paul Shin, Senator in the 21st Legislative District (Edmonds/Mukilteo/Lynwood) had submitted his immediate and unexpected resignation from the Washington State Senate due to serious health problems. Senator Shin’s door was always open. He was sympathetic to our needs and gave us the opportunity to explain our position. Our thanks to Senator Shin for his service and our best wishes to him and his family as they face this challenge.
Congratulations to Representative Liias who has been appointed to fill Senator Shin’s term in the Senate and Lillian Ortis Self who was appointed to Representative Liias vacated seat in the House.
The 2014 Legislative Session was called to order on Monday January 13, 2014. The session is scheduled for sixty days in the even numbered years. This being an election year, the goal for our elected officials will be to complete the business in sixty days.
The most interesting bill to date applies only to LEOFF II and was introduced by the LEOFF II Board. It is an attempt to address pension abuse issues dealing with a person retireing and then being hired back under contract. It is House Bill 2479. It's purpose is rather clearly stated in the bill:
"It is not the intent, nor is it a reasonable expectation of members, that chapter 372, Laws of 2005 allow plan 2 retirees of the law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ retirement system to continue in a law enforcement officer or firefighter career and still collect their retirement allowance."
Read more about this and other bills at www.leoff1.net. Be sure to check out Dick Warbrouck's recent report to the RFFOW.