Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1961 NO. 45 >

(1) A fireman who has made contributions under prior act and desires to avail himself of the benefits of chapter 255, Laws of 1961, must manifest his election by filing a written notice with the board within sixty days from June 8, 1961.(2) Such a fireman must return any refunds previously received by reason of selecting the benefits of prior acts before becoming entitled to the benefits provided by chapter 255, Laws of 1961, but such return of refunds need not be accomplished within sixty days after June 8, 1961.(3) A fireman who has received prior refunds cannot elect to come under the 1961 act without returning in full the amount of such refunds.(4) The return of refunds above described is to be made to the appropriate local firemen's pension board and a contract can be made between the fireman and the board for the payment of required refunds over a period of time; but until a complete return of such refunds is accomplished, the fireman in question will not be covered by the new act.(5) With the exception of those pre‑1947 (i.e., "prior") firemen who affirmatively elected, pursuant to chapter 382, Laws of 1955, to remain under the pre‑1947 pension system, firemen whose employment commenced prior to January 1, 1947, should be treated as being covered by chapter 382, Laws of 1955, and thereby required to contribute to the firemen's pension fund the salary percentages called for by that 1955 act rather than the lesser percentage called for by § 4, chapter 39, Laws of 1935.(6) A claim for refund of the overcontributions resulting from a mistake of law as to the applicability of chapter 91, Laws of 1947, would come within the three‑year statute of limitations.(7) Where a pre‑1947 (i.e., "prior") fireman pursuant to § 17, chapter 382, Laws of 1955, has elected to remain a member of the pre‑1947 pension system, his recovery of overcontributions due to a mistake of law is a refund by reason of selection of the benefits of prior acts and consequently, such overcontributions as have been thus recovered are returnable as a condition precedent to coverage under the new 1961 act if an election to be so covered is made.(8) A fireman whose employment commenced prior to January 1, 1947, is a member of the 1955 pension system in the absence of an affirmative election to the contrary.  If an election to come into the 1947 [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]or 1955 system has been made by a particular prior fireman, such fireman cannot now elect to return to the pre‑1947 pension system.