September 26, 2013: With the exception of on-call fire and police employees, employees and elected officials of all member units of the Northampton Retirement Board who earn less than $5,000 per year are ineligible for membership.
All permanent employees of the city working a minimum of 20 hours per week shall become members of the Northampton Retirement System.
All permanent school employees who work more than 20 hours per week and who are not eligible for membership in the Teachers Retirement System shall become members of the Northampton Retirement System.
Elected officials may join the system and have 90 days from the date of assuming office to elect to do so.
All on-call fire and police employees shall become members of the Retirement System, with creditable service to be determined at the time the employees become permanent employees.
Those employees who are temporary or intermittent and later become permanent shall join the Retirement System, and will have the option of buying back their previous temporary service.
Members of the System who drop below the minimum requirements for membership will remain members of the System and will continue to make contributions.
All members who work at least 20 hours per week will be considered full-time for purposes of calculating creditable service.
Those members who are working less than 20 hours per week, and those members buying back previous service of less than 20 hours per week, will have service calculated as a percentage of the 20-hour full-time rate, e.g. 10 hours will be considered halftime, and 5 hours will be considered one-fourth time.
School employees who work the entire school year and return the following September will be granted a full-year of creditable service. Employees who leave at the end of the school year will: be granted credit through their date of resignation.
March 30, 2006: This policy supersedes and replaces all previous creditable service policies of this board.
Active members may buyback service previous to membership and may buyback previous service that was refunded to them.
No liability will be accepted for employees of other Systems who were never active members of the Northampton Retirement System.
Prior service that was at least 20 hours per week will be considered full-time. Service less than 20 hours will be prorated as a percentage of the 20-hour minimum.
Military buybacks are calculated at an annualized 35-hour salary based on the rate listed on the membership form, and as verified by the deductions received. When no salary information is given, salary will be estimated using the first full 12 months of deductions.
Where information is sufficient to prove that the employee was employed by Northampton, every effort will be made to make an accurate estimate of the creditable service and of the salaries earned. The Retirement Board is the final arbiter of service granted in cases where full employment records are not available.
All buybacks must be completed prior to retirement and no creditable service will be granted until the buyback is complete.
Once a buyback is begun, it must be completed within 3 years. For buybacks greater than $4,000, members can take up to 4 years to complete it. Payback schedules longer than 4 years require board approval.
Elections will be held as a one-day walk-in event, with the retirement office as the polling station. The office will be open 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on that day.
Candidates will be listed on the ballot in the order determined by a random drawing, conducted by the election officer.
Candidates will not be given a mailing list of members. Candidates may provide material in postage-paid envelopes for mailing to retirees and/or active members.
Retirees will be provided with mail-in ballots. Active members can request an absentee ballot.
Mailed-in ballots must contain a name and return address on the outside. Ballots with no return address will not be counted. Ballots can be enclosed in a sealed inner envelope if the voter wishes to do so. Ballots will be checked off the eligible voter list as they are received, separated from the outer envelope, and set aside for counting.
Walk-in voters must show identification, and will be checked off the eligible voter list.
Once the polls are closed, the election officer and that officer's designees will count the ballots and post the election returns. The results will be posted in all departments, and will be included in the next retirement check mailing.
March 30, 2006
Retirement checks are mailed on the next-to-last business day of the month and are dated the last business day of the month.
With each change in board membership or staff, a notice will be sent to the treasurer including the eligible signatures for signing warrants, and stating that the treasurer is authorized to release funds upon receipt of a warrant signed by any two of the board members listed, or alternatively signed by the retirement administrator and any one of the board members listed.
When the monthly board meeting falls after the date of the warrants to pay direct deposits and to mail retirement checks, the retirement administrator is authorized to sign the payroll warrant. When the board meeting schedule may lead to late fees or other problems, the retirement administrator is authorized to sign an accounts payable warrant. Any such warrant must be signed by one board member. Any such warrant so signed will be presented at the next meeting for board approval.
Retirement checks which are lost in the mail will be replaced after 5 days, provided the retiree agrees to return the original check if received. If the retiree should later cash the original check, the overpayment will be deducted from his/her next retirement check, and all future requests for replacement checks will require stop payment of the original check and a waiting period for the treasurer to assure the check has not been cashed before a replacement check can be issued, and the retiree will be charged a stop-payment fee equal to the rate charged by the Board's bank.
New retirees will be paid beginning the work-day following their last paid day of employment or on their requested date of retirement, whichever comes last. Partial months of retirement will be prorated based on a 30-day month (e.g. if a person retires on the 15th of the month and is paid for the 15th, their retirement pay will start on the 16th and will be equal to one-half month's pay).
When the board meeting schedule leads to late-payment fees or other problems, bills may be paid prior to the warrant and marked as pre-released on the warrant. Currently, this policy would apply only to the bottled water bill, the newspaper subscription, and to hotel reservations.
Retirees and survivors are not required to have their signatures notarized. Those signing the payroll certification form under power of attorney will be required to have the form notarized.
Pursuant to our authority, this rule, and a list of all retirement boards which have submitted supplementary rules, shall be kept on file within the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission and shall be available upon request. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact this office.