Board of Trustees

A volunteer fire relief association must be managed by a board of trustees. The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) sometimes finds that activities required by law to be performed by the board of trustees during a meeting of the board are instead performed incorrectly by the affiliated fire department or municipality.

The board’s responsibilities include: determining plan benefits and eligibility for membership or benefits; determining the amount or duration of benefits; determining funding requirements and contribution amounts; maintaining necessary administrative records; reviewing expenditures; and investing pension plan assets.

The board consists of nine members: six trustees elected from the relief association’s membership, and three trustees from the municipality or municipalities. How municipal representatives are designated and who designates them depends on the legal structure of the fire department with which the relief association is associated. The municipal trustees for a relief association associated with a municipal fire department are the fire chief, one elected municipal official, and one elected or appointed municipal official. The municipal governing body designates the elected municipal official and the elected or appointed municipal official who serve as trustees, and their terms are for one year. A municipal trustee has all the rights and duties of any other trustee, except the right to be an officer of the relief association board of trustees.

A board must have at least three officers elected by the full board or by the membership, as specified in the bylaws. The officers are elected from among the elected trustees. A trustee may hold only  one elected office at a time on the board. Elected trustees  and officers may be elected for terms not to exceed three years, as specified in the bylaws. If the terms exceed one year, the elections should be staggered on as equal a basis as is practicable.

All trustees, including the three municipal trustees, are fiduciaries. Each trustee must act in good faith and exercise the degree of judgment and care that a person of prudence, discretion and intelligence would exercise in the management of that person’s own affairs.

Published last in the August 2020 Pension Newsletter