Retirement Services Division December 15, 2011 Minutes of Meeting Subcommittee on Purchase of Service and Related Matters



Connecticut State Employees Retirement Commission

Subcommittee on Purchase of Service and Related Matters
(Present: C. Casella, R. Coffey. Absent: L Yelmini, R. McLellan)
DATE: December 15, 2011

The Subcommittee met on this date to consider the cases noted below. The first group of recommendations were made by unanimous vote; the second with some dissent.

Unanimous Recommendations

(1) Jody Carreiro. The Subcommittee unanimously recommends denial of Ms. Carreiro's late submission of a request to purchase retirement credit under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-181(a) for her prior state service.

Comment: The record reflects that Ms. Carreiro did not respond to the Retirement Services Division's payment notices sent in connection to her timely response to the certified "last chance letter" regarding the purchase of retirement credit for her prior state service. In accordance with Commission policy Ms. Carreiro had permanently forfeited her right to purchase her prior state service. Ms. Carreiro's explanation for not responding to the notices is deemed insufficient. Accordingly, there is no justification to waive the October 1, 1985 deadline associated with this type of purchase.

(2) Sandra Lane. The Subcommittee unanimously recommends denial of Ms. Lane's request to re-characterize her period of part-time service from January 1990 to June 2001 as full-time service with periods of leaves of absence taken under the Voluntary Schedule Reduction Program.

Comment: The record reflects that in January 1990, Ms. Lane requested and was approved to work a part-time schedule upon her return to work following her maternity leave. The assertion made on her behalf that the administration within the University of Connecticut (UCONN) School of Social Work failed to recognize that the Voluntary Schedule Reduction Program (VSRP) was the best option under which Ms. Lane should have continued her employment is uncorroborated by UCONN's Human Resource (HR) Office. Additionally, there is a documented July 29, 1996 notice from the UCONN HR office regarding the regulations on voluntary schedule reduction that was made available to all university employees. While her part-time service pre-dates the introduction of the VSRP it was noted that Ms. Lane never requested participation in the program. Requests for participation have to be made in advance not retroactively. Accordingly, the Subcommittee finds that there are no provisions that would allow them to grant the relief that Ms. Lane is seeking.

(3) Regine Randall The Subcommittee unanimously recommends denial of Ms. Randall's request to rescind her default enrollment in the SERS Tier IIA retirement plan in order to enroll in Teachers Retirement System (TRS). Mr. Casella was unavailable at the time of the motion.

Comment: Ms. Randall was employed and subsequently terminated as a part-time adjunct with Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. At no point during her employment did she make an election for retirement coverage. In January 2011 Ms. Randall was re-employed with SCSU in a full-time position where she was appropriately placed in Tier IIA. Ms. Randall in October 2011 requested that she be allowed to enroll in TRS. She was advised that her enrollment was correct and that it was retroactive back to her initial date of hire in June 2004. Ms. Randall requested again to be allowed to enroll in TRS stating that she was already enrolled in TRS pursuant her employment in a Connecticut School District and that she was not properly advised by SCSU Human Resource staff. The Subcommittee finds that the evidence submitted in support of Ms. Randall's claim is insufficient to warrant granting her the relief that she was seeking.

(4) Katherine Scully The Subcommittee unanimously recommends denial of Ms. Scully's request that she be allowed to rescind her irrevocable waiver of retirement plan participation in order to enroll in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS).

Comment: Katherine Scully who became employed as an adjunct with Southern Connecticut State University on January 25, 2010 completed a "Waiver of Retirement Plan Participation". Ms. Scully requested a rescission of the waiver asserting that she had mistakenly thought that she was waiving participation in the State Retirement Plan only not realizing that the waiver applied to TRS also. The Subcommittee citing the clear language of the waiver form and that Ms. Scully's signature was an affirmation of her understanding of that language finds no evidence of extenuating circumstances sufficient to granting her request.

Tied vote

(5) Jason Powell The Subcommittee was unable to come to a decision and therefore recommends that Mr. Powell's request to transfer his retirement plan membership from the Alternate Retirement Plan (ARP) to the SERS Tier II Hazardous Duty Plan be considered by the full Retirement Commission.

Comment: Mr. Powell was first employed with Central Connecticut State University in November 1991 as State University Director of Public Safety. Mr. Powell asserts that at his time of hire he was misadvised by CCSU staff regarding his options for retirement plan membership. Specifically, he states that he was informed that his managerial position was ineligible for coverage under hazardous duty retirement. In support of Mr. Powell's claim the staff member who conducted the "new hire" interview process provided a notarized statement confirming Mr. Powell's claims noting that the advice given was based upon the understanding and belief of the CCSU Personnel Office at that time. The Subcommittee concluded that the agency was aware that this was a position that was eligible for coverage under the hazardous duty provisions based upon Management Personnel Policy No.89-3 distributed to Agency Heads by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) on October 22, 1990. Accordingly, Ms. Yelmini and Mr. Coffey find that there wasn't sufficient evidence of error on the part of the University to justify granting the relief that Mr. Powell was seeking. Mr. Casella and Mr. McLellan dissented finding that there was sufficient evidence of agency error.

In addition the Subcommittee considered the following appeals:

(6) Patricia Neafsey The Subcommittee unanimously recommends that this matter be tabled to allow Ms. Neafsey the opportunity to become knowledgeable of the ramifications of a retirement plan transfer.

Comment: The Subcommittee found that there was evidence of agency error that led to Ms. Neafsey electing membership in the Alternate Retirement Plan (ARP) instead of returning to the SERS Tier I, Plan B retirement plan when she was re-employed in 1989. However, the trustees found that a transfer to SERS could be problematic as she is currently not contributing to Social Security and there may also be possible tax ramifications. Therefore the Subcommittee recommended tabling the matter so that Ms. Neafsey could obtain information from Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service before any correction to her plan membership is made.

(7) Jodi Altenhof The Subcommittee unanimously recommends that this matter be tabled until further information can be obtained from the I.R.S. in relation to the irrevocable election rule.

(8) William Nelson As in the matter of Jodi Altenhof, the Subcommittee unanimously recommends that this matter is tabled until further information can be obtained from the I.R.S. in relation to the irrevocable election rule.

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