BY LAWS OF THE WASHINGTON STATE FIREFIGHTERS SPOUSE AND ORPHAN'S FUND
I. The name of this organization shall be the Washington State Firefighters Spouse and Orphan’s Fund.
II. The object of this organization shall be to provide a fund for the relief of the spouse and orphans of deceased firefighters or for the provision of funeral expenses in cases where required.
III. No payment shall be made from this fund except in accordance with the provisions hereinafter set forth and only to designated beneficiaries. Such beneficiaries to be limited to spouse, child(ren), parents, living trust, Washington State Registered Domestic Partner or estate of a member.In the event that no beneficiary is named or living, the benefit shall be paid to the member’s estate. Changes of beneficiary may only be made by the member in writing.
A member may designate an alternate beneficiary to whom the death benefit shall be paid in the event of the death of the primary beneficiary named by the member. Limit of the relationship of the alternate beneficiary must conform to requirements mentioned above. In the event no named beneficiary shall be living, such death benefit shall be handled as mentioned above.
IV. The initial payment of anyone joining the fund shall be equal to the annual assessment plus an initiation amount determined by the Board of Trustees. The amount of the initiation shall be reviewed annually. Any changes in the initiation fee shall be approved by the membership at the time of the annual elections for the fund and become effective July 1st of the year following the year in which it was approved.
An annual assessment shall be levied on or about July 1st of each year or sooner if the fund drops below Twenty Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000).The amount of the assessment shall be reviewed annually.Any changes shall be approved by the membership at the time of the annual elections for the fund. Failure to pay such assessments as may be levied, within thirty (30) days of the date of notice of such assessment, shall automatically cause the cessation of membership of the person failing to pay such assessments.
A firefighter may be reinstated in the fund by completing a board approved form certifying that they are in good health, by paying their arrears assessments and being accepted by the Board and further provided that no such member shall be eligible for reinstatement if he or she is not a member of a fire department at the time of application for reinstatement.
V. Any firefighter, or member of any fire department in Washington State, may become a member of this fund upon application and payment of the initial sum, provided that the Board of Trustees has approved his or her application.
Applications shall be accepted from any person who is less than forty five (45) years of age, an active member of their fire department and in good health at the time of making application.Applications will be accepted from persons who are forty five (45) years of age and older according to the provisions described in Appendix 8 of these by-laws.
When any member ceases to be a regular active member of any fire department, they may continue their membership in this fund.Provided that said member shall have had five (5) years service in a fire department immediately preceding the date of retirement, and shall have been a member and contributor to the fund for not less than five (5) years.
Any member going from a fire department into the military service may continue their membership in the fund, and military service may be used in computing their eligibility for membership at large after five (5) years of service.
VI. Upon proper notice of death of any member of this fund, the Board of Trustees shall cause to be paid to the designated beneficiaries, a sum of money equal to one dollar for every member of the fund, except that in no event shall the total amount payable from the fund for any death exceed One Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($1,750.00). The amount of the benefit shall be reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees of the Fund. Any changes shall be approved by the membership at the time of the annual elections for the fund and become effective July 1stof the year following the year in which it was approved.No benefit will be paid on behalf of anyone who is not a current member of the fund at the time of death.
VII. The Board of Trustees shall have entire and absolute discretion in expenditures from this fund and in directing the making of assessments. It is expressly understood that there is no obligation on the part of the Board of Trustees to make payment to any individual or individuals, nor is there any absolute right on the part of anyone paying into this fund to receive such funds or to direct its disposition except as provided herein. The object of this association being to build a fund for the beneficial purpose for the relief of spouses and orphans or for making provisions for funeral expenses of those paying into the fund.
VIII. The Board of Trustees shall consist of a Chair, Vice Chair Secretary and a Treasurer, all of whom shall be elected for a four (4) year term. The elections will be conducted in such a manner that one position will be elected yearly. In the event of a vacancy on the Board of Trustees, the remaining board members shall appoint a trustee to fill the unexpired term. The elections will take place as described in Appendix 7.
No person can be elected to the Board of Trustees of the fund unless he or she is a contributor to the fund.
The Board of Trustees shall elect a chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer from their midst at the first meeting after July 1.At the discretion of the board a person who is not a member of the board may be appointed treasurer.
IX. No payment shall be made from this fund except upon order of the Board of Trustees.Monies of the Fund shall be placed in an account or accounts to be designated by the Board of Trustees, and insofar as possible shall be placed in interest bearing accounts.
X.Whenever a member or beneficiary shall so request, the Chairman shall appoint a committee to make funeral arrangements for a deceased member of this fund and to otherwise supervise the expenditures from this fund.
XI. In the case of a deceased member having no dependents or named beneficiary, the Chairman shall appoint a funeral committee to have charge of all arrangements and make all expenditures up to the amount of benefit due.Any balance remaining from the benefits due shall belong to and be retained by the fund.
XII. No application for membership in this fund shall be made except with the knowledge and consent of the person thereby becoming a member.
All applications for membership in this fund must be approved by three (3) members of the fire department of which the applicant is a member, or by the Board of Trustees of this fund, which approval shall be endorsed on each application.
XIII. All interest derived from deposits and investments and any balance in the expense fund, in excess of those necessary for the administration of said funds, as provided herein, shall be deposited to the credit of the benefit fund.
The treasurer of the Fund shall be compensated for his or her services in connection with the administration of the fund. The amount of compensation shall be authorized by the Board of Trustees. The Board shall also fix the compensation for other services rendered on behalf of the fund.All other costs incidental to the operation of said fund shall be paid from the Expense Fund when authorized by the Board of Trustees.
XIV. The Board of Trustees shall be empowered to amend these by-laws as may be necessary for the proper administration of this fund.
XV. The Treasurer shall provide a bond in an amount sufficient to cover all monies in the fund, which may be in his or her possession from time to time.
XVI. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to make a written report of all monies received and distributed and of all business transacted during the preceding year.A summary of the annual report shall be sent to each member of the fund with the annual notice of assessment.
XVII. The Board of Trustees shall hold at least one annual membership meeting each year.The date, time and location of the annual meeting shall be mailed to each member.Special or emergency meetings may be requested by any member of the Board of Trustees or by any ten (10) members of the fund.Such requests shall be in writing and submitted to the Chair of the Board of Trustees.The Chair of the Board of Trustees shall convene a meeting within 15 days of the receipt of such a request. It shall not be necessary to notify the membership of a special or emergency meeting.
Appendix 1. PAYMENT: Upon proper notice of death of any member of the fund, the Treasurer shall pay to the designated beneficiary, a sum of money equal to one dollar for every member of the fund, except that in no event shall the total amount payable exceed One Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($1,750.00).
Appendix 2. ASSESSMENT: The annual membership assessment shall be $50.00, of which $47.00 shall be placed in the benefit fund account and $3.00 shall be placed in the expense fund account.The initiation fee for joining the fund shall be $52.00, of which $50.00 shall be placed in the benefit fund account and $2.00 shall be placed in the expense fund account. (Note: New members pay $52.00, which covers the period of time from joining until the first June 30 after joining. See Appendix 8.)
The Treasurer of this fund shall, immediately after making any payments to beneficiaries of this fund under any claim, mail a notice to each member of this fund, calling for another assessment if the fund balance is less than $25,000.00.
Appendix 3. NOTICE: Notice of assessment shall be mailed to each member of the fund, provided however, where payment of assessments is made through the Department to which the member belongs, notice of assessment mailed to the department, listing all members paying through the department, shall constitute notice to all such listed members, unless otherwise specifically requested by the member. Notification of meetings and elections shall also be handled according to the above procedure.
Appendix 4. FUND ACCOUNTS: The fund shall maintain accounts consisting of a Benefit Account and an Expense Account. Only Death benefits will be paid from the Benefit Account. All other expenses in connection with the administration of this fund shall be paid from the expense account. Deposits to these accounts shall be as defined by Appendix 2.
Appendix 5. TREASURER COMPENSATION: The Treasurer will be compensated for his or her services at a rate of $1.75 per member as of January 1 of each year.
Appendix 6. INTERPRETATION: In the event that any question shall arise as to the eligibility of any person to become a member of the fund, or of any beneficiary to participate in the benefits due from the fund, or any other matter involving expenditures from the fund, or assessment for the fund, such matters shall be brought before the Board of Trustees in writing. The Board of Trustees shall review the issue and render a decision. The decision of the Board of Trustees shall be final.
Appendix 7. ANNUAL ELECTIONS
January 15th of each calendar year, a request for nominations for positions up for election will be mailed to each active member.
March 15th of each calendar year, the nominations will be closed.
April 15th of each calendar year, ballots will be mailed to each active member.
May 1st of each calendar year, all active members should have their ballots in hand. Upon completion of the voting, each member shall return his or her ballots to the Treasurer of the fund.
June 15th of each calendar year, the elections will be closed, and all ballots received by this date will be counted.
On or before June 25th of each calendar year, the ballots will be tallied. The winner will be notified by telephone and/or mail as soon as possible after the final count.
July 1 of each calendar year, the new board member will take office. Each board member shall hold office until their successors are elected.
APPENDIX 8. Applications from individuals 45 years of age and older.
An individual who joined their department before they were 45 years old and now is 45 years of age or older may join the fund under the following provisions, completing the proper application for membership and acceptance by the board.
This must be certified by the chief of the department. Person must sign the board statement of good health.
Must be an active member of the department and continue that active membership for a minimum of 5 years after joining the fund (same as for new members).If they leave the department beforecompleting the 5 years, they would be dropped from the fund (see Section V).
NO BENEFIT (except accidental death) will be paid for three (3) years following enrollment.
Initial enrollment would be $60.00 (instead of $52.00).
Pay for all of the missed years (45 years old and beyond) at the annual assessment rate (now $50.00) PLUS a penalty of $8.00 per year. Future assessment will be at the current assessment rate.
Effective 03-01 Amended 07-01-2005, 07-26-2007, 03-04-2010, 03/16/2010