DALA Decision Appealed

MAY 2003
- No Final Word Yet - As predicted in the January Voice, the two decisions, issued by the
Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA) on Option C veterans and
personal use of official motor vehicles, have sparked further
controversy. Currently, they are being appealed, so the final word on
these issues has yet to be heard.

To
recap, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC)
issued two opinions. In one, DALA’s Chief Administrative Magistrate
Christopher Connolly concluded that an Option C veteran is entitled to
his full vet benefit ($15 for each year of creditable service, up to
$300 annually), but his surviving spouse should not receive any of the
vet benefit. While in the other, First Adm. Magistrate Kimberly
Fletcher found that the value, derived from an employee’s personal use
of a motor vehicle, supplied by their employer, is not regular
compensation for calculating a pension. (For more details, see January Voice.)

PERAC’s
opinions have generated arguments, pro and con, eventually leading to
legal challenges before DALA. As reported by us, DALA heard legal
arguments, in the Option C veterans case, by PERAC and the Teachers
Retirement Board (TRB) which opposed the position that the Option C
veteran is entitled to his full vet benefit, and in the motor vehicle
case, by the Stoneham Retirement Board, which opposed PERAC’s opinion,
and the town’s retired fire chief, who argued in its favor.

Both
the TRB and PERAC were not satisfied with DALA’s decision, granting the
Option C veteran his full vet benefit. While the TRB continued its
objection to granting the Option C veteran his full vet benefit, PERAC
disagreed with DALA’s finding that the surviving spouse is not entitled
to any part of the vet benefit.

opinion
and paid the full vet benefit to which their Option C veterans were
entitled,” according to Association Counsel Bill Rehrey. (See July ‘02 Voice) “We anticipate that with DALA’s decision, several boards will reconsider the issue.”

As
for the DALA decision in the motor vehicle case, (which disallowed
totally the value, derived from the personal use of official vehicles,
in pension calculations), other parties have entered into the fray.
Most notably, PERAC has intervened in this case and filed objections,
defending its position that the personal use be included in the pension
calculations.

With objections to the
DALA decisions having been filed, the Contributory Retirement Appeal
Board (CRAB) must now act, rendering its own decisions. Since the
issues in both cases impact all retirement boards, it’s expected that
CRAB will act soon.

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