Texas Vernon’s Civil Statutes
Sec. § 3.01
Board of Trustees


(a)

The pension system shall be administered by the board. The board shall execute its fiduciary duty to hold and administer the assets of the fund for the exclusive benefit of members and their beneficiaries under Section 802.203, Government Code, Section 67(f), Article XVI, Texas Constitution, and any other applicable law, in a manner that ensures the sustainability of the pension system for purposes of providing current and future benefits to members and their beneficiaries.

(b)

Subject to Subsections (b-1) and (b-2) of this section, the board consists of 11 trustees who shall be selected and shall serve as follows:

(1)

six trustees appointed by the mayor, in consultation with the city council;

(2)

three trustees elected under rules adopted by the board by the members and pensioners of the pension system from a slate of nominees, in a number determined under the rules, selected and vetted by the nominations committee;

(3)

subject to Subsection (b-3) of this section, one trustee who is a current or former police officer of the city nominated and elected by members of the pension system under rules adopted by the board; and

(4)

subject to Subsection (b-3) of this section, one trustee who is a current or former fire fighter of the city nominated and elected by members of the pension system under rules adopted by the board.

(b-1)

To be appointed or elected a trustee under this section, a person:

(1)

must have demonstrated financial, accounting, business, investment, budgeting, real estate, or actuarial expertise; and

(2)

may not be an elected official of the city.

(b-2)

To be appointed or elected a trustee under Subsection (b)(1) or (2) of this section a person may not be an active member or pensioner.

(b-3)

If the board determines that it is not possible to nominate or elect a trustee under Subsection (b)(3) or (4) of this section who meets the requirements of Subsection (b-1) of this section, the board shall notify the nominations committee and the nominations committee shall select, vet, and nominate a slate of persons, the number of which is determined by board rule, who meet the requirements of Subsection (b-1) of this section, and the members of the pension system shall elect a trustee from the slate of nominees to represent the interests of police officers or fire fighters, as appropriate, of the city on the board. The nomination and election of a trustee under this subsection may be made without regard to whether the trustee is qualified under Subsection (b)(3) or (4), as applicable, of this section.

(b-4)

A trustee is not required to reside in a particular city or county of this state.

(c)

Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 318 (H.B. 3158), Sec. 1.52(1), eff. September 1, 2017.

(d)

A vacancy on the board in a trustee position under Subsection (b)(1) or (2) of this section shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, or election. The board by rule shall determine the manner by which a vacancy in a trustee position under Subsection (b)(3) or (4) of this section is filled.

(e)

The mayor shall determine whether all trustees appointed under Subsection (b)(1) of this section hold office for staggered two-year terms or staggered three-year terms. The nominations committee shall determine whether all trustees elected under Subsection (b)(2), (3), or (4) of this section hold office for staggered two-year terms or staggered three-year terms. A trustee appointed or elected, as applicable, under Subsection (b)(1) or (2) of this section may not serve for more than six consecutive years on the board.

(f)

The election of the trustees under Subsection (b)(2), (3), or (4) of this section, including an election under Subsection (b-3) of this section to fill a trustee position under Subsection (b)(3) or (4) of this section, shall be held under the supervision of the board, and the board shall adopt such rules governing the election procedure as it considers appropriate, as long as the rules are consistent with generally accepted principles of secret ballot and majority rule. The rules adopted by the board shall be recorded in the minutes of the board and made available to the members of any pension plan within the pension system.

(g)

The board shall, in June of each odd-numbered year, elect from among its trustees a chairman, vice chairman, and a deputy vice chairman, each to serve for two-year terms. In addition, the board may elect, if it so chooses, a second deputy vice chairman to serve during the term of the incumbent chairman. The vice chairman shall be authorized to act in the place of the chairman in all matters pertaining to the board. In the absence of both the chairman and the vice chairman, the deputy vice chairman shall be authorized to act. In the absence of the chairman, vice chairman, and deputy vice chairman, the duties shall fall to the second deputy vice chairman.

(h)

The executive director, or in the executive directors absence a member of the administrative staff designated by the board, shall serve as the secretary of the board.

(i)

The board shall serve without separate compensation from the fund, but a trustee is entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses and, if applicable, to any appropriate compensation from the city as if the trustee were performing the trustees regular functions for the police or fire department or for the city. The board shall meet not less than once each month and may meet at any time on the call of its chairman.

(j)

The board has full power to make rules pertaining to the conduct of its meetings and to the operation of the pension system as long as its rules are not, subject to Subsections (j-1) and (j-2) of this section, inconsistent with the terms of this article, any pension plan within the pension system, or the laws of this state or the United States to the extent applicable. A board meeting may be held by telephone conference call or by videoconference call in accordance with Sections 551.125 and 551.127, Government Code, except that Section 551.125(b), Government Code, does not apply.

(j-1)

Subject to Subsection (o)(2) of this section, the board may adopt a rule that conflicts with this article:

(1)

to ensure compliance with the code, including Section 415 of the code, and other applicable federal law;

(2)

subject to Subsections (j-5) through (j-8) of this section, to amortize the unfunded actuarial accrued liability of the pension system within a period that does not exceed 35 years, if the board determines the rule is appropriate based on the evaluations required under Subsection (j-5) of this section; or

(3)

subject to Subsections (j-6) and (j-7) of this section and notwithstanding any other law, to increase the benefits provided under this article in any manner the board determines appropriate if the increase will not cause the amortization period of the unfunded actuarial accrued liability of the pension system to exceed 25 years, after taking into account the impact of the increase.

(j-2)

Except as provided by Subsection (j-1) of this section or Section 4.02(b) of this article, a provision of any plan provided by the pension system may only be amended if approved by the board. An amendment described by this subsection:

(1)

may not cause the amortization period of the unfunded actuarial accrued liability of the pension system to exceed 35 years, after taking into account the impact of the amendment, as determined by the board and reviewed by the State Pension Review Board; and

(2)

is not required to be ratified by the legislature.

(j-3)

The board may correct any defect, supply any omission, and reconcile any inconsistency that may appear in this article in a manner and to the extent that the board believes would:

(1)

be expedient for the administration of the pension system;

(2)

be for the greatest benefit of all members, pensioners, and qualified survivors; and

(3)

not adversely affect the benefits of a member, pensioner, or qualified survivor.

(j-4)

The board has full discretion and authority to construe and interpret the combined pension plan and to do all acts necessary to carry out the purpose of the combined pension plan. A decision of the board is final and binding on all affected parties.

(j-5)

Not later than January 1, 2018, the board shall conduct an evaluation of:

(1)

how benefits are computed under this article to identify potential means of abusing the computation of benefits to inflate pension benefits received by pensioners; and

(2)

the impact, including the impact on the combined pension plan, of establishing one or more alternative benefit plans, including a defined contribution plan or a hybrid retirement plan that combines elements of both a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan, for newly hired employees of the city and for members who voluntarily elect to transfer to an alternative benefit plan.

(j-6)

The board may not adopt a rule under Subsection (j-1)(2) or (3) of this section unless the rule has first been reviewed by the State Pension Review Board and the State Pension Review Board finds that implementation of a rule under:

(1)

Subsection (j-1)(2) of this section complies with the amortization period prescribed by that subdivision and Subsection (j-8) of this section; or

(2)

Subsection (j-1)(3) of this section complies with the amortization period prescribed by that subdivision.

(j-7)

The board shall provide the State Pension Review Board with a copy of a proposed rule for purposes of Subsection (j-6) of this section at least 90 days before the date the board intends to implement the rule.

(j-8)

The board may not adopt a rule under Subsection (j-1)(2) of this section based on an evaluation under Subsection (j-5)(2) of this section if the board determines implementation of the rule would cause the amortization period of the unfunded actuarial accrued liability of the combined pension plan or any plan established under this article by the pension system to exceed 35 years, after taking into account implementation of the rule.

(j-9)

At least twice each year, the board shall have a meeting to receive public input regarding the pension system and to inform the public about the health and performance of the pension system. The State Pension Review Board is entitled to all documents and other information provided to the public or that are the basis for information provided to the public, as determined by the State Pension Review Board, for purposes of this subsection and shall independently review the information to ensure its validity.

(j-10)

An employee or other agent acting on behalf of the pension system or the city must certify to the State Pension Review Board that any information provided by the pension system or city, as appropriate, under this article or other law is accurate and based on realistic assumptions.

(k)

The board has full power, through the chairman, to issue process for witnesses and to administer oaths to witnesses and examine witnesses as to any matter affecting retirement, disability, or death benefits under any pension plan within the pension system, and to compel witnesses to testify. In addition, the board may request investigative services from either department in connection with any matter before the board.

(l)

The board has the responsibility for the administration of the pension system and shall order payment from the fund in accordance with the terms of the appropriate plans within the pension system. Money from the fund may not be paid except on order of the board.

(m)

The board has full power to invest the assets of the fund in accordance with Section 4.07 of this article.

(n)

Six trustees of the board constitute a quorum at any meeting.

(o)

No action may be taken by the board except at a meeting. Except as otherwise specifically provided by this article or other law:

(1)

no action shall be taken during a board meeting without the approval of a majority of the trustees of the board; and

(2)

no action otherwise authorized by this article or other law may be taken that establishes an alternative benefit plan, reduces the city contribution rate, increases the member contribution rate, or reduces benefits, including accrued benefits, without the approval of at least a two-thirds vote of all the trustees of the board.

(o-1)

Only actions of the board taken or approved of during a meeting are binding on the board, and no other written or oral statement or representation made by any person is binding on the board or the pension system.

(p)

The board may file suit on behalf of the pension system in a court of competent jurisdiction regardless of the courts location. The board has sole authority to litigate matters on behalf of the pension system. Notwithstanding Chapter 15, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, or any other law, an action against the pension system or the board shall be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction located in the city or county in which the pension system is located.

(q)

The board may purchase from one or more insurers one or more insurance policies that provide for the reimbursement of a trustee or employee of the pension system for liability imposed as damages caused by, and for costs and expenses incurred by the individual in defense of, an alleged act, error, or omission committed by the individual in the individuals capacity as a fiduciary or employee of the pension system. The board may not purchase an insurance policy that provides for the reimbursement of a trustee or employee of the pension system due to the trustees or employees dishonesty, fraudulent breach of trust, lack of good faith, intentional fraud or deception, or intentional failure to act prudently.

(r)

The board shall adopt a code or codes of ethics consistent with Section 825.212, Government Code. In adopting or amending a code or codes of ethics, the board may consider comments on the policy from the city attorney of the city. The board shall:

(1)

review the code or codes of ethics on an annual basis and amend the code or codes as the board considers necessary;

(2)

file a copy of the code or codes of ethics adopted or amended in accordance with this subsection with the State Pension Review Board; and

(3)

provide a copy of the code or codes of ethics adopted or amended in accordance with this subsection to the city attorney.

(s)

The board shall develop an Internet website designed to give active members and pensioners access to the information concerning the pension system and the individuals participation in the pension system required by Section 802.106, Government Code, as well as information concerning the financial health of the pension system.

(1)

administer the fund for the exclusive benefit of all members, retirees, and beneficiaries;

(2)

order payments from the fund as required by this Act;

(3)

control the fund independently;

(4)

conduct all litigation on behalf of the fund; and

(5)

purchase with fund assets from one or more insurers licensed to do business in this state one or more insurance policies that provide for reimbursement of the fund and any trustee, officer, or employee of the board for liability imposed or damages because of an alleged act, error, or omission committed in the trustees, officers, or employees capacity as a fiduciary officer or employee of the fund and for costs and expenses incurred as a trustee, officer, or employee in defense of a claim for an alleged act, error, or omission, as long as the insurance policy does not provide for reimbursement of a trustee, officer, or employee for liability imposed or expenses incurred because of the trustees, officers, or employees personal dishonesty, fraud, lack of good faith, or intentional failure to act prudently.

(b)

If the insurance coverage described by Subsection (a)(5) of this section is insufficient or is not in effect, the board may indemnify a person for liability, damages, and reasonable legal expenses that result from an alleged act, error, or omission occurring in the persons capacity as a trustee, officer, or employee of the fund without regard to the time of the occurrence of the allegation or whether the person continues to serve in that capacity. The board may not indemnify an individual because of the individuals dishonesty, fraudulent act, lack of good faith, or intentional failure to act prudently.

(c)

Indemnification under Subsection (b) of this section shall be determined by a majority vote of trustees who are not the subject of the indemnification. The board may adopt a policy for the presentation, approval, and payment of indemnification claims covered under Subsection (b) of this section.

(d)

The board shall adopt rules necessary for the boards effective operation, including rules relating to:

(1)

the disbursement of the funds assets;

(2)

the designation of beneficiaries of the fund; and

(3)

the name of the board and the fund.

(e)

The board shall report annually to the governing body of the municipality regarding the condition of the fund and the receipts and disbursements of the fund.

(f)

Attendance by any number of the trustees at a conference or gathering to research prospective investments or review current ones, to attend professional training, or otherwise attend to their fiduciary responsibilities, during which no formal discussion of public business takes place and no formal action is taken, is not a deliberation or meeting within the meaning of Chapter 551, Government Code, and is not required to be open to the public.

(g)

A trustee of the fund is immune from liability for an action or omission made by the trustee in the performance of the trustees official duties for the fund that is made in good faith.

(h)

Records that are in the custody of the board concerning a member, former member, retiree, deceased retiree, beneficiary, or alternate payee are not public information under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may not be disclosed in a form identifiable to a specific individual unless:

(1)

the information is disclosed to:

(A)

the individual or the individuals attorney, guardian, executor, administrator, or conservator, or another person whom the executive director determines from written documentation to be acting in the interest of the individual or the individuals estate;

(B)

a spouse or former spouse of the individual, if the executive director determines that the information is relevant to the spouses or former spouses interest in a members accounts or benefits or other amounts payable by the pension system;

(C)

a government official or employee seeking the information in order to perform the duties of the official or employee; or

(D)

a person authorized by the individual in writing to receive the information; or

(2)

the information is disclosed under a subpoena and the executive director of the fund or the executive directors designee determines that the individual will have a reasonable opportunity to contest the subpoena.

(i)

Subsection (h) of this section does not prevent the disclosure of the status or identity of an individual as a member, former member, retiree, deceased member, deceased retiree, beneficiary, or alternate payee of the fund.

(j)

A determination and disclosure under Subsection (h) of this section does not require notice to the individual member, retiree, beneficiary, or alternate payee.

(1)

administer the fund for the exclusive benefit of the beneficiaries of the fund;

(2)

order payments from the fund;

(3)

independently control the fund; and

(4)

conduct all litigation on behalf of the fund.

(b)

The board may contract with a municipality or other entity to receive the following services:

(1)

the administration of benefit claims of beneficiaries, including payment of claims from money in the fund;

(2)

the administration of the boards administrative expenses, including payment of the expenses from money in the fund as approved in advance by the board; and

(3)

other administrative services approved by the board.

(c)

The board shall adopt rules necessary for the boards effective operation, including rules relating to:

(1)

the disbursement of the funds assets; and

(2)

the name of the board and the fund.

(d)

The board shall take any action necessary to ensure that contributions to the fund and benefits received from the fund are exempt from federal taxes and excluded from a beneficiarys taxable income.

(e)

The board shall report annually to the governing body of the municipality regarding the condition of the fund and the receipts and disbursements of the fund.

(f)

The board has full discretion and authority to administer the fund and the retiree health plan, construe and interpret this Act and the retiree health plan, correct any defect or omission, reconcile any inconsistency, and perform all other acts necessary to carry out the purpose of this Act and the retiree health plan and administer this Act and the retiree health plan for the greatest benefit of all members in a manner and to the extent that the board considers expedient.

(g)

A gathering of any number of trustees to investigate, research, or review prospective or current investments or otherwise attend to the trustees fiduciary responsibilities, without formal action by the trustees, is not a deliberation or meeting under Chapter 551, Government Code, and is not required to be open to the public.

(h)

The trustees of the fund are immune from liability for any action taken or omission made in good faith in the performance of their duties for the fund.

(i)

Information contained in a record that is in the custody of the fund concerning a member, former member, retiree, deceased retiree, beneficiary, or alternate payee is confidential under Chapter 552, Government Code. The information may not be disclosed in a form that identifies a specific individual, unless the information is disclosed:

(1)

to the individual;

(2)

to the individuals spouse, attorney, guardian, executor, administrator, or conservator, or to another person the executive director or the executive directors designee determines from written documentation to be acting in the interest of the individual or the individuals estate;

(3)

to a person authorized by the individual in writing to receive the information;

(4)

to a government official or employee seeking the information in order to perform the duties of the official or employee; or

(5)

under a subpoena.

(j)

Subsection (i) of this section does not prevent the disclosure of the status or identity of an individual as a member, former member, retiree, deceased member, deceased retiree, beneficiary, or alternate payee of the fund.

(k)

A determination and disclosure under Subsection (i) of this section does not require notice to the member, retiree, beneficiary, or alternate payee.

(1)

the Commissioners Court of Gaines County and the governing bodies of the cities of Seminole and Seagraves each pass a resolution calling for the election of the directors; or

(2)

the board receives a petition signed by at least 150 registered voters of Gaines County calling for the election of the directors.

(b)

If the resolution is passed or the petition presented to the board as provided by Subsection (a) of this section, a directors election shall be held on the first Saturday in May that occurs after the resolution is passed or the petition presented. The board by order may postpone the election date for one year if:

(1)

the election will occur within 60 days after the date the resolution is passed or the petition is presented; or

(2)

the board determines that there is not sufficient time to comply with the requirements of law and to order the election.

(c)

Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1049, Sec. 9.01(a)(12), eff. September 1, 2011.
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Last accessed
Oct. 15, 2019