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IPPFA Praises Signing of First Responders Suicide Prevention Act

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Public Pension Fund Association (IPPFA) today praised the signing of the Illinois First Responders Suicide Prevention Act, a new law the IPPFA drafted that will help fight the number one cause of duty-related deaths in the state. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the legislation today at the Illinois State Police headquarters in Springfield, and the law takes effect immediately.

“This new law is a major step toward saving the lives of everyday heroes, those who run toward danger rather than away from it and have for years suffered silently because of it,” said IPPFA President James McNamee. “This will give police officers and firefighters the assistance they need to save their own lives while they work every day to save ours.”

The legislation, which overwhelmingly passed the Illinois General Assembly as House Bill 2766, provides that any emergency services or public safety employee may refer any fellow first responder for mental health services through an employee assistance or peer counseling program. If such a program is not available through the employee’s agency, the legislation authorizes that help may be sought from any available mental health assistance program. Most importantly, the bill mandates that any oral or written information communicated during these mental health sessions would be strictly confidential and could not be used in any judicial hearing, arbitration, or other adjudicatory proceeding.

The IPPFA drafted the bill more than two years ago. It was written by IPPFA board member and first responder Shawn Curry, and the legislation gained steam following several recent first responder suicides in Illinois.

“Crimes, fires and other emergencies have not gone down, and as we place more duties on fewer people, those people need to have access to confidential help when they need it,” McNamee said. “The attempted suicide rate for first responders such as police officers and firefighters is more than ten times the rate of the general public, and this new law will literally save lives.”

This spring and summer the IPPFA partnered with the Northern Illinois University Psychology Department to develop training for first responder mental health service providers. This training will be  accredited through the university and can be taught through the state’s  university system.

A recent study by the Ruderman Family Foundation examined depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues affecting first responders and the rates of suicide in departments nationwide. The study determined that first responder suicides outnumber all line of duty deaths in the United States, making it the number one cause of death for firefighters, police officers, probation and corrections officers, paramedics and ambulance personnel.

The IPPFA was founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit organization whose mandate was to educate public pension fund trustees. In 2009 the IPPFA became the primary education provider for public pension fund trustees in the state of Illinois, and its members manage more than $18 billion in pension assets.

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To download a copy of the press release, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Video: Retirement Prep 101
Source: Squared Away Blog

Half of the workers who have an employer retirement plan haven’t saved enough to ensure they can retire comfortably.

This 17-minute video might be just the ticket for them.

Kevin Bracker, a finance professor at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, presents a solid retirement strategy to workers with limited resources who need to get smart about saving and investing.

 

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The Implications of Social Security’s ‘Missing Trust Fund
Source: Center for Retirement Research

The brief’s key findings are:

  • As policymakers consider restoring balance to Social Security, understanding the reason for the shortfall is important.
  • Specifically, the program’s “pay-as-you-go” approach, which dates back to the late 1930s, makes it expensive relative to a funded system.
  • Paying full benefits to Depression-era workers meant forgoing the opportunity to accumulate more revenue in the trust fund, along with the interest on that revenue.
  • To make up for the missing interest, costs are higher than in a funded system.
  • Going forward, if revenues are considered as an option for helping to address legacy costs, the income tax is a potential alternative to the payroll tax.

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The Achilles Heel to the Fiscal Condition of Cities – Public Pensions
Source: MuniNet Guide

Governmental credit quality is a byproduct of both the underlying economy and the cumulative decisions made by officials and citizens over time. The potential for severe strain tends to increase when both the economy and fiscal management break down, which can become even more likely if huge governmental liabilities loom in the backdrop.

The slow, grinding recovery from the 2008 credit crisis has helped most state and local governments restore their coffers through an uptick in revenues. On the other hand, a number of cities remain hampered and exposed to a host of significant liabilities, especially related to retirement benefits.

Using fiscal 2013 year data drawn primarily from city Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR), Merritt Research Services, LLC examined a number of key ratios and statistics to ascertain the overall credit quality of America’s cities.

In this second part of our series, “Assessing the Credit Quality of America’s Cities,” we place the spotlight on the Achilles heel for many cities: public pensions. Future installments of this series will focus on liabilities encompassing other forms of debt, including other post-employment benefits and the average age of infrastructure, a liability whose time will eventually require funding. Wrapping up the fiscal assessment picture, we will examine overall condition measures such as deficits, financial cushions and net position.

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