The Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) is the primary public retirement system in the state, administering pension and other benefits for employees of more than 2,200 public entities in the state, including the state, school districts, and cities and counties. The IPERS Investment Board, whose members include the state treasurer and others appointed by the governor, manages IPERS assets. A separate system--the Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System of Iowa--administers pension benefits for many public safety personnel for cities with a population greater than 8,000.
Iowa Code Chapter 97B establishes the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System. IPERS is housed within the Iowa Governor's Office. The Governor is the plan sponsor and determines benefit levels. IPERS staff administers those benefits to IPERS members.
Iowa Public Employees Retirement System
97B.8A creates the Investment Board:
1. Board established. A board is established to be known as the "Investment Board of the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System", referred to in this chapter as the "board". The duties of the board are to establish policy, and review its implementation, in matters relating to the investment of the retirement fund. The board shall be the trustee of the retirement fund.
The Investment Board consists of eleven members (seven voting and four nonvoting) as follows:
Three voting public members, appointed by the governor, who are not members of the retirement system and with substantial institutional investment experience or substantial institutional financial experience;
Three voting members, appointed by the governor, who are members of the retirement system;
The treasurer of state;
The nonvoting members of the board shall be two state representatives, one appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives and one by the minority leader of the house, and two state senators, one appointed by the majority leader of the senate and one by the minority leader of the senate.
Benefits Advisory Committee
Section 97B.8B establishes the Benefits Advisory Committee, which is responsible for making recommendations on benefits levels. According to the statute, a benefits advisory committee shall be established whose duty is to consider and make recommendations to the system and the general assembly concerning the provision of benefits and services to members of the retirement system.
Membership in the BAC is as follows:
Of the members who comprise the committee, nine members shall be voting members. Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, the voting members shall be elected by the members of the committee from the membership of the committee. Of the nine voting members of the committee, four shall represent covered employers, and four shall represent the members of the retirement system. Of the four voting members representing employers, one shall be the director of the department of administrative services, one shall be a member of a constituent group that represents cities, one shall be a member of a constituent group that represents counties, and one shall be a member of a constituent group that represents local school districts. Of the four voting members who represent members of the retirement system, one shall be a member of a constituent group that represents teachers. The ninth voting member of the committee shall be a citizen who is not a member of the retirement system and who is elected by the other voting members of the committee.
State statutes set contributions at 60 percent/40 percent (employer/employee), which may be adjusted annually by up to 1 percent per actuarial recommendation. Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2015, employer contributions to Iowa state and local government pension plans were 2.54 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.
Campbell v. City of Marshalltown, 235 N.W. 764 (Iowa 1931)(indicating that duty to pay police pensions is purely statutory and not contractual); City of Iowa City v. White, 111 N.W.2d 266 (Iowa 1961)(holding that pension is protected once a member applies for retirement). (lA CONST., Article 1, §21) Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits