STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION
LEGAL AND PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
MINUTES OF MEETING


April 12, 2017

PRESENT

Peter Adomeit, Chair
Michael Carey, Trustee
Charles Casella, Trustee
Robert Coffey, Trustee
Bruce Barth, Commission Counsel for IRS Matters
Cindy Cieslak, Commission Counsel

The Chair called the meeting to order at 8:36 a.m. and asked the members to consider Item II on the agenda, the approval of the agenda.

Mr. Coffey moved, seconded by Mr. Casella to approve the agenda. All voted in favor.

Under Agenda Item III, Chairman's Report, the Chair offered some reflections on the amount of time devoted to hearings during Commission meetings.

At 8:50 a.m., following discussion of the Chairman's Report, Mr. Coffey moved, seconded by Mr. Carey that the subcommittee recommend to the Commission that its hearings be limited to 30 minutes, unless the Chair rules that additional time is necessary. All voted in favor.

At 8:55 a.m., the subcommittee took up Item V.1. on the agenda, an appearance by Alfonso Collazo, who requested an exception to Commission rules which limit a disability retirement applicant's opportunities to request reconsideration by the Medical Examining Board of a denial of benefits. Mr. Collazo's union representative made a presentation to the subcommittee and provided written evidence to support the request. The representative and Mr. Collazo responded to the subcommittee's questions. Retirement Services Division Assistant Director Colin Newman joined the meeting.

At 10:02 a.m., Mr. Carey moved, seconded by Mr. Casella to recommend to the Commission that it remand the October 31, 2016 Collazo MEB decision to the MEB for reconsideration on procedural grounds, based on evidence of inconsistency in the record between a statement in the decision that there was no evidence that a permanent disability existed at the time of the applicant’s retirement and a decision of the Social Security Administration that there was a permanent disability at that time. All voted in favor.

At 10:03 a.m., the subcommittee took up the next item on the agenda, the Kelly matter. Following discussion, the subcommittee reached a consensus that no action should be taken on Mr. Kelly's request to cease payroll deductions and receive a refund of the contributions already paid for a purchase of additional service credit as there is no provision in the SERS plan allowing such cessation of deductions and return of contributions and that the Retirement Services Division should continue the deductions.

At 10:15 a.m., the subcommittee took up the next item on the agenda, the Wondoloski matter. This matter concerns an MEB decision referred to the Legal and Personnel Subcommittee by the Purchasing and Other Related Matters Subcommittee for review of whether there was procedural error in the application of the standard for determining disability.

At 10:36 a.m., Mr. Carey moved, seconded by Mr. Coffey that the subcommittee advise the Commission that it finds no procedural error by the MEB in the application of the standard for determining disability in the Wondoloski matter. All voted in favor.

At 10:37 a.m., the subcommittee took a brief recess and Assistant Director Colin Newman left the meeting.

At 10:45 a.m., Mr. Casella moved, seconded by Mr. Carey to go into Executive Session to consider written legal opinions concerning the Soracchi matter and CMERS recoupment of overpayments, and pending litigation in the following matters: Walenski, UPSEU v. Town of Thompson, Carter, Bouchard and Maturo and the matter of the option to extend the Robinson & Cole contract and to invite Attorney Barth and Attorney Cieslak to participate in the discussion of all matters except the Robinson & Cole contract option. All voted in favor.

At 11:26 a.m., Attorney Cieslak and Attorney Barth left the meeting.

At 11:34 a.m., Mr. Casella moved, seconded by Mr. Carey to come out of Executive Session. All voted in favor. Attorney Cieslak returned for the Public Session.

At 11:35 a.m., Mr. Carey moved, seconded by Mr. Coffey, that the subcommittee recommend to the Commission that it direct Commission Counsel to write to Mr. Soracchi's attorney, in response to his request for the reasoning behind its decision, that the basis for the denial of Mr. Soracchi's request to purchase credit for his service to the state of Florida was that Florida’s retirement system does not meet the similarity requirements to purchase credit in Connecticut's retirement system. All voted in favor.

At 11:37 a.m., Mr. Casella moved, seconded by Mr. Carey that the subcommittee recommend to the Commission that in accordance with the advice of Commission Counsel it should recoup overpayments of CMERS benefits as appropriate. All voted in favor.

At 11:38 a.m., Mr. Casella moved, seconded by Mr. Carey that the subcommittee recommend to the Commission that it extend the contract with Robinson and Cole for an additional two years. All voted in favor.

At 11:39 a.m., Mr. Casella moved, seconded by Mr. Carey to adjourn. All voted in favor. The meeting adjourned.

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