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.


Thank you to the following members who sent separate donation checks.

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:

Thomas McNerney $303

Gordon Lewis $250

Peter Vaglio $203

George Moody $200

Marion Herth $200

Don Sharp $200

John Livers $200

Anonymous $200

Bob McLauchlan $200

Patrick Brock $200

Mary Jean Olson $200 in memory of Steven Olson

Mary Sholdra $175

Sally Bouillon $150

Edward Antich $103

Loretta Dixon $103

Adrienne Hager $103

Monte Harrison $103

Brian Henderson $103

Edwin Jackson $103

Jean Hunt $103

Lewis Eyman $103

Daniel Doles $103

Marvin Berg $100

Terry R Davis $100

Dan Zlock $100

Jim Dorney $100

Grant Newell $100

Pauline Kirlin $100

Francis Hinson $100

Barbara Beers $100

Frank Bladen $100

William Mitchell $100

Elynor Roehr $100

Gerald Nichols $100

Doris Hunter $100

Ralph Maughan $100

Ronald Eckerman $100

David Campbell $100

Tom Betrozoff $50

Robert VanDyke $50

Glen Clarke $43

Carlene LaBrec $43

Hubert Crawley $43

Lucille Thrasher $43

Linda Teague $43



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 powerfull 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 Message

By Richard C. Warbrouck

The Select Committee on Pension Policy (SCPP) is a standing legislative interim sub-committee. The committee members are legislators from the House and Senate and members from employee and employer organizations, retiree groups appointed by the Governor. The committee is empowered to meet during the interim, between legislative sessions to discuss and study retirement issues and oversee all the state retirement systems except the LEOFF II Retirement System that is independent and has its own board.

The SCPP is not a legislative session committee where legislative bills are sent for consideration and direction in the process of a bill becoming law. The SCPP is an advisory committee and can have bills introduced. The House and Senate look to the SCPP members as pension system experts and give strong consideration to any bill that is introduced by the committee. Retirement issues can be brought to the committee by writing a letter to the committee chair explaining the issue and request that it be put on a meeting agenda or by addressing the committee members at a committee meeting to explain the issue or problem. All the letters received by the committee between meetings are read and noted to the members under constituent correspondence.

(For more of the President's Message, click here)


A Message From President Warbrouck - March 7th 2019

On February 21, 2019 when I was in Olympia for a hearing on two LEOFF I retirement system bills dealing with pension and disability board eligibility and prior act funding I was advised that I should schedule a meeting with Senator Kevin Van De Wege. Director Roy Orlando and I attended a meeting with Senator Van De Wege and Steve Nelson, the Executive Director of the LEOFF II retirement Board.

(Senator Van De Wege is an active LEOFF 2 Firefighter and was just elected to the Senate after several terms as a Representative. His email address is Kevin.VanDeWege@leg.wa.gov. His Olympia address is 212 John A. Cherberg Building, PO Box 40424, Olympia, WA 98504, and his phone number is (360) 786-7646)

Much to my surprise I was informed that they intended to introduce a LEOFF I – L-2 merger bill. The senator passed out a draft format of the merge concept Steve Nelson seem to be familiar with the outline or intent. Now I know why; as this outline is very similar to the bill that Steve drafted and was discussed last year in the dead of the night, behind closed doors during the budget deliberations.

The draft document reads as follows:

Merges LEOFF 1and LEOFF 2 Delay until receive IRS approval (Does not delay State rate reduction) STATE:
0% LEOFF 2 contribution rate for 2019-21 & 2021-23 (saves $295M GFS Local employer still pays 30% and employee still pays 50%)
Beginning in 2023-25 state contributions restart but start phasing out and transitioning to employee/local employer by 2030 when employee share is 55% and local employer is 45%
Repeal Public Safety Enhancement Account and Benefit Improvement Account saves $100M GFS In 2019-21 and 2021-23, and $50 million per biennium thereafter LEOFF 1
> : $15,000/member payment Approximately $240M from LEOFF 1fund Include dental in retiree medical – $Unknown local government LEOFF 1 Governance unchanged (SCPP & PFC) EMPLOYER:
LEOFF 2 contributions for 2019-21 directed into LEOFF 1Retiree Medical Account $105M LEOFF 2:
$Transfer from LEOFF 2 into Benefit Improvement Account
Rate-setting authority solely with LEOFF 2 Board beginning 2023 (OSA reasonable)
LEOFF 2 Board protected – authority and budget At the meeting the above was distributed but not much more in the way of information was provided. No explanation was given for the various proposals nor was any explanation given to explain the $15,000 per member payment provision.
Steve Nelson advised that he had not informed the LEOFF II Board of this proposal and that they had granted him blanket authority to do anything he wants–seems like a serious conflict of interest because of his position as the Executive Director.
What have we done?

After the meeting contact was made with Dennis Lawson who is the President of the Washington State Council of Firefighters and the Chair of the LEOFF II Board. He stated that he was unaware of the proposal even though the WSCFF lobbyist appeared to be aware of the proposal. In fairness to WSCFF, Dennis Lawson was out of town and the lobbyist did not attend the meeting. Dick Warbrouck will be meeting with Dennis Lawson shortly, so we should soon discover the position of WSCFF relative to the proposal.

On Monday, February 25, representatives of the Retired Fire Fighters of Washington, the Retired Seattle Police Officers Association and the Washington State Retired Police Officers Association met with our attorney, Phil Talmadge. It was decided that we should have Mr. Talmadge send a letter to Senator Van De Wege seeking clarification and details. In addition to the Talmadge letter Dick Warbrouck also wrote directly to Senator Van De Wege asking a number of questions.

The Senator has delegated his answers to Steve Nelson. Steve’s answers are as expected—everything is just fine and legal. He cites legal positions taken during the previous rounds of merger proposals even though we have established that those opinions do not hold up under examination. You can review some of the documents here: http://leg.wa.gov/SCPP/Publications/Pages/SCPP2016MergerStudy.aspx

We have also been in contact with the Association of Washington Cities and the Association of Washington Counties. Both have indicated they will not support the proposal. WACOPS was not aware of the proposal but is now on board and opposes the proposal. We have not yet spoken with COMPAS.

What happens next?

We are waiting to determine the position of the Council of Fire Fighters and will be reviewing the legal actions we may need to take if the bill goes forward. We are advised by Steve Nelson that it is the Senator’s intent to draft a merger bill that will be approved by the IRS and will meet all Washington state legal requirements as laid out in Bakenhus and Weaver. The Senator is currently working with stakeholders, including RFFOW, to finalize the merger proposal and will send draft legislation to them. The Senator anticipates having a draft bill ready by March 18.

In our judgement the barriers presented by the IRS rules as well as Bakenhus and Weaver are insurmountable. This is not new ground and they have tried this in one form or another three times in the past. We feel that the exclusive benefit rule still applies.

The issues here are complicated, so we will be addressing them in subsequent emails and web postings. You might want to take a look at what the proposed back in 2017. See our 2017 posting for more information

And, just to throw a little more oil on the fire, we have been advised that there is an effort going forward to transfer $321 million from the LEOFF II Benefit Trust to the LEOFF II Benefit Enhancement Fund. I suspect that is why they want the LEOFF 1 money to back fill the hole that would create.

More to follow. Be sure to stay in touch with your organization and that you inform everyone as to what is going on. Also, make sure everyone signs up for emails at LEOFF1.Net.

Oh, you might want to let the Senator know what you think of the idea. Kevin.VanDeWege@leg.wa.gov


This is an example submitted by Director Roy Orlando of how to begin your letter or email to Senator Van De Wege:

Many LEOFF members are asking what they should say when they call or email Senator Van De Wege’s office. Of course the members can add to or alter my comments. I hope this will be helpful in guiding our members as the questions come in.

Dear Senator Van De Wege,

I am a member of the LEOFF system and I am opposed to the current LEOFF 1/2 merger proposal. The proposed merger is unfair to the members of the LEOFF system and the employers. The State of Washington is without question the primary beneficiary of the merger being considered. I’m shocked that a Firefighter is proposing this merger. As a Senator and active Firefighter it seems that your proposal contains elements of conflict. I request that you rescue yourself from this unacceptable matter immediately.

You can add any of Director Orlando’s comments or any of the comments in the following list 1-20. Comments that can be made in regards to the proposed L1/2 merger in letters, emails or in phone calls to Senator Van De Wege or in phone calls to the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000.

1) The LEOFF I members were promised their own independent retirement system when they were hired. How can the State renege on that promise?

2) The LEOFF I Retirement System and the LEOFF I Fund should be protected under the Bakenhus decision.

3) Senator Van De Wege should not sponsor a bill that will benefit him personally as a LEOFF II member.

4) This is too complicated. L-1/L-2 merger too many questions unanswered, we the LEOFF I members feel violated.

5) Not enough information for or against the merger; need more information.

6) Can’t fully address a major issue like the proposed L-1/L-2 merger after a bill is dropped and we have one or two minutes to comment.

7) When the last three attempts to merge L-1/L-2 have failed, why is this proposed merger any different?

8) Will the legislators, House& amp; Senate have the opportunity to analyze all the information, including all legal opinions before voting on another L-1/L-2 merger?

9) Why does Senator Van De Wege feel the LEOFF II system should inherit the so-called surplus in the LEOFF I System?

10) How was the $15,000.00 dividend to the LEOFF I members calculated?

11) Do the employers who also made contributions have a claim to the surplus?

12) Why should the State withhold the State’s contributions into the LEOFF II Retirement Fund pending a decision by the IRS? If the IRS denied the merger how will the State repay the contributions that were incorrectly withheld?

13) How will individual legislators be prepared to vote on a merger without a complete report as a result of a study and a majority and minority report?

14) Typical of the State to transfer money from one fund to the other that isn’t even there, it’s only projected. This is like an owner borrowing money today based on the projected value of his or her house ten years from now.

15) Why is it equitable to allow the State to discontinue the L-2 contributions, give the employers nothing, give the members $15,000.00 and give the rest to the LEOFF II Fund, a Fund that is 109% funded and while considering a bill to transfer 300 million dollars out of the L-2 Fund to another benefit improvement fund?

16) The members should receive a full detailed report on the impact of a merger so they can respond appropriately.

17) Answer the bill question! “Why is a merger needed? Both L-1/L-2 retirement systems are fully funded.”

18) During the first stakeholder meeting Senator Van De Wege could only answer a few questions. He did say that the State will be the winner in the merger.

19) Why does the State want relief from future L-II of the plan to the members and the employers when the State is funding all the other State retirement plans?

20) In spite of the initiative maybe it’s time for the Legislature to take control of the LEOFF II Retirement System. How much money would be saved?

Senator Kevin Van De Wege
PO Box 40424
Olympia, WA 98504
Phone: 1-360-786-7646
Email: kevin.vandewege@leg.wa.gov



March RFFOW Meeting

On March 20, 2019
11 AM; Calvary Christian Assembly 6801 Roosevelt Way NE Seattle, WA


January Pension Report by Ray Sanderson:


A decade after the last major recession of the U.S. economy, many have been convinced that the current environment is the new normal. Soaring equities and low interest rates have been predominant features of investments; rising Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums, artificially smoothed discount rates and increasing settlement activity have also been present. While some of these features might become part of a new normal, some might be cyclical. To understand the future, we need to examine the past. In this paper, we will look at 10 investment actions and discuss what they mean for future planning.

1. Avoid surprises.
During the global financial crisis (GFC), the average plan saw its funded ratio fall by 25%. Businesses were stressed, and those with large pension obligations got an extra kick in the shin as they were forced to source extra cash for their plan. The good news is there are still tools that can be used to simulate different economic environments to help clients better understand the potential impacts of financial risks and develop strategies to manage them.

(For January 2019 pension report, click here)


Click Here
to download the Personal Information Packet



William S. Nelson retired Seattle Captain passed away on 12/7/18.

Mark J Fitzgerald, Retired Fire Chief King Co Fire Dist 20-Skyway, served more than 30 years and served as Fire Chief 1994 to 2009, died on 12/5/18, of a cardiac incident in his car on the side of local highway. Services were Dec 20th.

Gordon Ochs, retired Seattle firefighters, passed away on 12/22/18.

Yvonne Dezarn, widow of retired Seattle lieutenant Darrell Dezarn, passed away on 12/17/18.

Active Seattle Firefighter Kim Staats passed away at his home 11/13/18.

William Halbert retired Seattle Firefighter passed away on 1/13/19

Donald Shaver, retired Seattle Firefighter, passed away on 12/7/18

Lucy Sloan, widow of retired Seattle Firefighter Jack Sloan, passed away on 12/30/18.

Beatrice Castona, widow of retired Seattle firefighter Hervey Castona, passed away on 2/1/2019.

Michael Horat, retired Seattle Lieutenant, passed away on 2/1/2019. Memorial service will be April 25, 2019 at 2:00 pm, Inglewood Golf Club 6505 Ingelwood Rd NE Kenmore, WA 98028

Mary Grafalo, widow of retired Seattle Lieutenant Albert Grafalo, passed away on 12/26/2018.

Michael Rebar, Retired Tacoma Fire Captain, passed away on January 19. A Celebration of Life will be held from 1-4pm on Saturday February 23 at the Tacoma Firefighters Hall 1109 So 50th.

Daniel Roulst, retired Seattle Firefighter, passed away on 2/12/19. A burial service for will be held this coming Thursday 2/21 at Tahoma National Cemetery at 11:30. Address is 18600 SE 240th ,Kent WA. And a celebration of life gathering afterwards at St John the Baptist Church Hall, 25810 156th Ave SE Covington WA.

Merle Anderson, widow of retired Seattle Firefighter Merrill Anderson, passed away on 2/8/19.

Ronald L. Hoyt Retired Chief of Central Pierce Fire and Rescue died in Tacoma, February 17, 2019. Memorial Services to be held at Eastside Community Center, 1721 East 56th St, Tacoma WA, February 24th 2019 at 2:00pm.



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