National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Vermont

Major public retirement systems in Vermont include the Vermont State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the Vermont Teachers Retirement System (TRS).

The Vermont SERS administers pension and other benefits for all full-time state employees. The system is a division of the State Treasurer's office. The Retirement Division also manages the Vermont TRS, which administers pension and other benefits to public school teachers, and a municipal retirement system.

The Vermont Municipal Employees Retirement System provides benefits to participating municipalities' employees.

Authorizing Statutes

State Employees

Chapter 16 of the Vermont Statutes establishes the Vermont SERS. According to 3 V.S.A. § 456.,

The date of establishment of the retirement system shall be July 1, 1972. The system shall be known as the "Vermont state retirement system," and by such name all of its business shall be transacted, all of its funds invested, and all of its cash and securities and other property held in trust for the purpose for which received.

§471 describes the Retirement Board.

The general administration and responsibility for the proper operation of the retirement system and for making effective the provisions of this subchapter are hereby vested in a board of eight trustees, known as the retirement board. The board shall consist of:

  • the governor or his or her designated representative;

  • the state treasurer;

  • the commissioner of human resources;

  • the commissioner of finance and management;

  • three members of the Vermont state employees' association who are members of the system, each to be chosen by such association in accordance with its articles of association and bylaws or policies for a term of two years; and

  • one retired state employee who is a beneficiary of the system, to be elected by the Vermont retired state employees' association for a term of two years.

Board Composition

Plan

Board Size

Appointed

Elected

Plan Members

Ex Officio

Vermont State Employees Retirement System

8

1

4

4

3

Educational Employees

Chapter 55 of the Vermont Statutes establishes the Vermont TRS. According to 16 V.S.A. § 1932.,

A retirement system is hereby established and placed under the management of the board of trustees of the system for the purpose of providing retirement allowances and other benefits under the provisions of this chapter for teachers of the state of Vermont. The system shall begin operation and be established as of July 1, 1947. It shall have the power and privileges of a corporation and shall be known as the "state teachers' retirement system of Vermont," and by such name all of its business shall be transacted, all of its assets invested, and all of its cash and securities and other property held in trust for the purpose for which received.

Section §1942 creates the Board of Trustees.

The general administration and the responsibility for the proper operation of the system and for making effective the provisions of this chapter are hereby vested in the board of trustees of the system, which shall be organized immediately after three of the trustees provided for in this section have qualified. The board shall consist of six trustees, as follows:

  • The commissioner of education, ex-officio;

  • The state treasurer, ex-officio;

  • The commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, ex-officio;

  • Two trustees and one alternate, who shall be members of the system and who shall be elected by the members of the system for a term of four years according to such rules and regulations as the board shall adopt to govern such election; and

  • One trustee and one alternate, who shall be elected by the board of directors, Association of Retired Teachers of Vermont, who shall be a retired member of the system receiving retirement benefits.

Local Employees

Chapter 125 of the Vermont Statutes establishes the Vermont MERS. According to 24 V.S.A. § 5052.,

The date of establishment of the retirement system shall be July 1, 1975. The system shall be known as the "Vermont municipal employees' retirement system", and by such name all of its business shall be transacted, all of its assets invested, and all of its cash and securities and other property held in trust for the purpose for which received.

§5062 describes the Retirement Board.

The general administration and responsibility for the proper operation of the retirement system and for making effective the provisions of this chapter are hereby vested in a board of five trustees, known as the retirement board. The board shall consist of:

  • the state treasurer;

  • two employee representatives who shall at all times during their term of office both be contributing members of the system and have completed five years of creditable service, elected by the membership of the system;

  • one employer representative who shall at all times during their term of office be a member of a governing body, the chief executive officer, or a supervisor as defined in 21 V.S.A. § 1502(13), of an employer participating in the system, elected by the governing bodies of the system employers; and

  • one employer representative who shall at all times during their term of office be a member of a governing body, the chief executive officer, or a supervisor as defined in 21 V.S.A. § 1502(13), of an employer participating in the system, appointed by the governor from a list of not less than three nominations jointly submitted by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and the Vermont School Boards Association.

Contributions

Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2014, employer contributions to Vermont government pension plans were 1.95 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.

Constitutional Protections

No explicit constitutional protection for public pension benefits, but courts provide protection based on impairment of contract principles. Burlington Fire Fighters' Ass'n. v.City of Burlington, 543 A.2d 686 (Vt. 1988)(upholding pension amendment requiring retroactive contributions in exchange for increased benefits but recognizing that where an employee makes mandatory contributions to a pension plan, that pension plan becomes part of the employment contract as a form of deferred compensation, the right to which is vested upon the employee's making a contribution to the pension plan) Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits

Flag of Vermont (April 17, 1923)

Population (2016) 624,594

Vermont public pension statistics, per U.S. Census Bureau as of FY 2016 ($ in 000s)

Assets

$4,096,541

Active Members

26,896

Annuitants

19,202

Benefits Paid

$323,492

Employee Contributions

$91,075

Employer Contributions

$153,590

Systems

10

More Data