senate Bill S1760

Relates to participation by free association libraries in the New York state and local employees' retirement system

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Bill Status

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 06 / Feb / 2009
  • 06 / Jan / 2010


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Bill Details

Legislative Cycle:
Senate Civil Service And Pensions
Law Section:
Retirement and Social Security Law

Sponsor Memo


An act to amend the retirement and social security law, in relation to
participation by free association libraries in the New York state and
local employees' retirement system

The bill would allow additional free association libraries to
participate in the State retirement system, providing their librarians
and other employees equity with those free association libraries which
are currently in the retirement system, as well as with public
libraries operating under other forms of governance.

Adds a new section 31-g to the Retirement and Social Security Law
allowing free association libraries which meet enumerated standards to
join the retirement system and providing for administration of the
process. To be eligible, libraries must be chartered by the State
Board of Regents, receive the majority of their revenues from public
sources, provide for public voting on both their budgets and their
trustees, and file appropriate reports with the State Comptroller.

Section 31 of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) permits,
but does not require, the State Comptroller to accept for membership
in the State retirement system, "Any public or quasi-public
organization created wholly or partly or deriving its powers by the
legislature of the state and which organization employs persons
engaged in service to the public..." Pursuant to this section, the
Comptroller appears to have admitted 16 free association libraries to
participation in the retirement system, but reportedly has not
accepted applications in recent years. Other sections of law (see
sections 31-a, 31-b, 31-c, 31-d and 32 of the RSSL) provide membership
for specific named public libraries and library systems.

This bill was requested by the New York Library Association (NYLA).
Public libraries in New York generally operate under one of four types
of governance. Some are agencies or departments of a municipality, so
library staff are employees of the municipality and are thus members
of the retirement system. Others are special districts created by
special State legislation, and their retirement system participation
may be established by their enabling legislation. Others are
voter-established "school district public libraries," which are
eligible to participate in the state retirement system pursuant to
section 31-a of the RSSL. The fourth type of public library governance
is the free association library. Free association libraries are
subject to the same rights and responsibilities pursuant to the
Education Law as are public libraries operating under other types of
governance. Funding for these libraries typically is provided by the
municipality (or municipalities) which they serve. These libraries
receive the same State and federal aid as other public libraries. The
largest and most well-known free association library is the research
library of the New York Public Library, which is actually owned by the
Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations. (This free association library
is specifically made eligible to participate in the retirement system
by section 32 of the RSSL.)

The vast majority of free association libraries, however, serve small,
rural upstate communities. Their lack of participation in the
retirement system hampers their ability to recruit and retain
librarians and other staff. Experienced staff currently working in
other libraries may be reluctant to accept employment which does not
count toward their retirement, while entry-level staff are likely to
move on to jobs at other libraries or other local government agencies
which participate in the retirement system. Permitting these
libraries to participate in the retirement system will "level the
playing field" and ensure high quality library services for citizens
in all parts of the State.

S.7507/A.10518 of 2007.

This bill would permit any free association public library which meets
certain specific criteria to elect participation in the New York State
and Local Employees' Retirement System.

If this bill is enacted and an eligible corporation elects
participation, the future annual cost would depend on the retirement
plan adopted.

As a percentage of payroll, we anticipate that the annual
contributions of the affected corporation for the fiscal year ending
March 31, 2010, will be as follows:

Tier 1 4.7% to 9.2%
Tier 2 4.5% to 8.5%
Tier 3 6.9%
Tier 4 6.9%

In addition to the annual contributions discussed above, there will be
a deficiency cost to the affected corporation which will be payable
for a 25 year period. These costs will depend on age, service, salary,
tier status and plan of the affected employees.

This estimate, dated January 27, 2009 and intended for use only during
the 2009 Legislative Session, is Fiscal Note No. 2009-116, prepared by
the Actuary for the New York State and Local Employees' Retirement

No direct fiscal implications to local governments. The actual costs
of participation in the retirement system will be billed by the
Comptroller directly to the participating free association libraries.

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