State Lawmakers Exploit Loophole to Pad Pensions by $3 Million

Ten former state lawmakers are enjoying early, enhanced pensions after quitting the Legislature, beneficiaries of a loose, even questionable, reading of state law that could cost state taxpayers up to $3 million in additional retirement costs, according to a Globe review.

The State Retirement Board granted the special benefits under a 1950 law that says public officials can take immediate pensions if they lose an election or fail to qualify for the ballot. But of the 14 state legislators who have received such pensions, only four fit that definition. The other 10 were not defeated by voters. They departed office voluntarily.

Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, whose office oversees the Retirement Board, suggested such a stretching of the rules is improper.

“The intent of the statute is to provide a benefit to someone who was involuntarily removed from their position, through no fault of their own,” Cahill said in the e-mailed statement. Cahill, a Democrat, declined a request for an interview, leaving questions unanswered over whether he plans to strip any of the benefits awarded to the 10 legislators.

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Ten former lawmakers received enhanced, early pensions when they voluntarily stepped down from the Legislature, under an expansive reading of a law that is supposed to award such pensions to public officials who are defeated by voters. Shown are the number of years the lawmakers served in the Legislature and their hometowns at the time of their service; in most cases they combined additional previous public service to reach a 20-year minimum pension requirement. Pensions shown are the amount scheduled to be paid during 2009, with the exception of that for Susan Schur.

    Click on the following link to see who is receiving these kisses in the mail each month, how many years of service they had, and just how much their pensions are costing the taxpayer:…

About Brock N. Cordeiro