Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 8. Service Credit

Membership In Municipal Police Officers' Retirement System Prior To Or Following City-County Consolidation -- Payment Of Benefits By Two Systems

19-7-801. Membership in municipal police officers' retirement system prior to or following city-county consolidation -- payment of benefits by two systems. (1) A law enforcement officer who has not changed employment but who has, because of a city-county consolidation, been transferred either from a city police force to a county sheriff's office or from a county sheriff's office to a city police force as a law enforcement officer is eligible for a service retirement benefit if the officer's combined service credit in the sheriffs' retirement system and the municipal police officers' retirement system satisfies the minimum membership service requirement of the system to which the officer last made contributions. A member who has elected to continue membership in the public employees' retirement system under 19-7-301 may continue the election. However, credit for service in the public employees' retirement system that has not been transferred prior to January 1, 1979, may not be transferred.

(2) A member of the municipal police officers' retirement system who begins employment in a position covered by the sheriffs' retirement system following a city-county consolidation may remain in the municipal police officers' retirement system or elect to become a member of the sheriffs' retirement system by filing a written election with the board no later than 30 days after beginning the employment.

(3) Eligibility for and calculation of disability retirement, death benefits, and refund of contributions are governed by the provisions of the retirement system to which the officer last made contributions.

(4) The service retirement benefit of a member described in subsection (1) must be calculated separately for each system based on the service credit under each system. The calculation for the sheriffs' retirement system portion of the benefit must include the optional retirement benefit, if any, elected under 19-7-1001. The final salary or highest average compensation for each calculation must be based on the highest compensation earned while a member of either system. Each system shall pay its proportionate share, based on the number of years of service credit, of the combined benefit.

(5) Upon the death of a retired member receiving a service retirement benefit under this section, the survivor or contingent annuitant and the continuing benefit must be determined separately for each system as follows:

(a) For the municipal police officers' retirement system portion of the benefit, the surviving spouse must receive a benefit equal to the municipal police officers' retirement system portion of the service retirement benefit as calculated at the time of the member's retirement. If the retired member leaves no surviving spouse or upon the death of the surviving spouse, the retired member's surviving dependent child, or children collectively if there are more than one, must receive the same monthly benefits that a surviving spouse would receive for as long as the child or one of the children remains dependent, as defined in 19-9-104. The benefits must be paid pursuant to 19-2-803. If there is more than one dependent child, upon a child no longer qualifying as dependent under 19-9-104, that child's pro rata benefits must be paid to the remaining dependent children.

(b) For the sheriffs' retirement system portion of the benefit:

(i) the contingent annuitant must receive a continuing benefit as determined under 19-7-1001, if the retired member elected an optional retirement benefit; or

(ii) if the retired member did not elect an optional retirement benefit, any payment owed the retired member, including the excess, if any, of the retired member's accumulated contributions standing to the retired member's credit at the time of retirement less payments made to the retired member must be paid to the retired member's designated beneficiary.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 122, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 401, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 140, Ch. 265, L. 1993; Sec. 19-7-308, MCA 1991; redes. 19-7-801 by Code Commissioner, 1993; amd. Sec. 28, Ch. 370, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 76, Ch. 99, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 75, Ch. 429, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 12, Ch. 36, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 49, Ch. 329, L. 2005.