Bill Would Tighten Pension Rules for Convicted Public Workers

Link: https://www.governing.com/finance/bill-would-tighten-pension-rules-for-convicted-public-workers

Excerpt:

New Jersey would make it harder for public employees who commit crimes to collect their pensions under a bill legislators are fast-tracking through the state Assembly.

The proposed reforms to the state’s pension law were recommended without discussion Thursday, Sept. 29, by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, just one week after they were introduced. That allows the measure to move to the Assembly floor for a vote expected on Monday.

The legislation would tighten the criteria under which pension boards decide whether former government workers convicted of on-the-job misconduct should lose some or all of their pensions. It would also expand the list of offenses that automatically disqualify public employees from receiving those benefits.

….

That change would take more pension decisions out of the hands of the state’s retirement boards, which are often reluctant to strip officials of their full pensions, under a process in which they weigh offenders’ misconduct against the good they did throughout their careers. The proposal would also revamp how boards consider those factors, making it easier for them to refuse to grant benefits.

To become law, the bill would have to pass the Assembly and Senate and be signed by Gov. Phil Murphy. So far, no Senate version has been introduced, and its potential fate in the upper chamber remains unclear.

Author(s): Riley Yates, NJ.com

Publication Date: 30 Sept 2022

Publication Site: Governing

Appeals panel: No pension benefits for ex-Chicago cop Anthony Abbate, convicted in videotaped beating of female bartender

Link:https://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/619782204-appeals-panel-no-pension-benefits-for-ex-chicago-cop-anthony-abbate-convicted-in-videotaped-beating-of-female-bartender

Excerpt:

A state appeals panel has ruled a Cook County judge was wrong to declare Anthony Abbate — a Chicago police officer convicted of a 2007 aggravated battery targeting a female bartender — remained entitled to his pension.

Cook County Circuit Judge Anna Loftus ruled in favor of Abbate in a lawsuit against the Retirement Board of the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of the City of Chicago, which stripped Abbate’s pension following his conviction. Loftus determined the battery had no connection to Abbate’s service as a police officer and therefore couldn’t be used to invalidate his pension.

The Illinois First District Appellate Court ruled on the pension board’s appeal in an order issued Feb. 7. Justice Aurelia Pucinski wrote the opinion; Justices Michael Hyman and Carl Walker concurred. The order was issued under Supreme Court Rule 23, which may restrict its use as precedent.

…..

According to Pucinski, the pension board also said “Abbate used his position as a police officer to interfere with a criminal investigation into his own conduct at the bar” and cited testimony from a federal civil trial in which a jury found in favor of the bartender against Abbate and the city. The panel rejected Abbate’s arguments alleging the pension board failed to support its conclusions and selectively included evidence.

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The panel further rejected Abbate’s argument it should only consider a specific section of the Illinois Pension Code, explaining it would consider other cases interpreting similar forfeiture provisions, such as those affecting the General Assembly, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund members and others.

Author(s): Scott Holland

Publication Date: 7 Feb 2022

Publication Site: Cook County Record

Former IHS doctor stripped of federal pension and benefits

Link: https://www.blackhillsfox.com/2021/03/16/former-ihs-doctor-stripped-of-federal-pension-and-benefits/

Excerpt:

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – A former Indian Health Service doctor has been stripped from his federal pension after being convicted of sexually assaulting his patients while working on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The doctor, Capt. (ret.) Stanley Patrick Weber, worked for IHS for three decades and was an officer for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

In September 2018, Weber was convicted of sexually assaulting young boys under his care. That didn’t stop his government pension or benefits though. For the past year, a U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Board of Inquiry was formed to find grounds to strip Weber of his honorable-discharge status and federal pension in June 2019.

Publication Date: 16 March 2021

Publication Site: KEVN

Borenstein: Pension cuts for California public employee felons upheld

Excerpt:

No, California public employees can’t commit felonies on the job and then keep their pensions earned while they were perpetrating their crimes.

“When misconduct turns into outright criminality, it is beyond dispute that public service is not being faithfully performed,” the state Court of Appeal has concluded. “To give such a person a pension would further reward misconduct.”

The February ruling in a “felony forfeiture” case from Contra Costa and a similar December appellate court ruling in one from Los Angeles County correctly reject arguments from two firefighters that they are entitled to their full retirement pay despite their felonious conduct while working.

Author(s): Daniel Borenstein

Publication Date: 12 March 2021

Publication Site: Mercury News

Guilty of bribery and extortion, ex-public employees still collect public pensions

Link: https://www.wxyz.com/news/local-news/investigations/after-admitting-to-bribery-and-extortion-ex-public-employees-still-collect-public-pensions

Excerpt:

In 2017, a law was passed that attempted to make forfeiture of a crooked public employee’s pension mandatory, or at least easier to pursue. But a 7 Action News investigation reveals it has seldom been used, and Michigan’s Attorney General was not even familiar with it.

Former Detroit Police officers James Robertson, Jamil Martin and Anthony Careathers were charged by prosecutors when it was revealed that each was extorting collision shop owners on the job.

Author(s): Ross Jones

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: WXYZ