MINUTES OF MEETING
STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION
OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER
55 ELM STREET
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT 06106

December 18, 2008

TRUSTEES PRESENT
Peter R. Blum, Chairman
Bob Baus
S. Fae Brown-Brewton
Charles Casella
Robert Coffey
Richard Cosgrove
Thomas Culley
Paul Fortier
Steve Greatorex
Sal Luciano
Mary Marcial
Ronald McLellan
Claude Poulin
Linda Yelmini

ABSENT
Steve Caliendo
Jeffrey Smith, Municipal Liaison

OTHERS PRESENT
Dr. Thomas Woodruff, Director, Retirement Services Division
Margaret Haering, Assistant Director, Retirement Services Division
Helen Kemp, Assistant Director, Counsel for the Retirement Services Division
Jeanne Kopek, Assistant Director, Retirement Services Division
Colin Newman, Assistant Director, Retirement Services Division
Joseph Lantieri, Retirement & Benefits Services Division, Disability Unit
Diane Ruggia, Executive Assistant, Retirement & Benefits Services Division
Marilyn Rodriguez, Secretary II, Retirement Services Division
Karen Buffkin, Counsel for the State Comptroller

GUESTS
Attorney Michael Rose of Rose Kallor, LLC
George Spurlock, Connecticut Employees Union Independent

CALL TO ORDER

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

The Chairman extended a holiday wish to the Trustees. The Chairman rendered a vote for an item which had been tabled as a result of a tie vote. The Chairman voted in favor of agenda item no 17, November 20, 2008 The request for Commission consideration of the June 15, 2007recommendation of its subcommittee on purchase of service and related matters in the case of Giacomo Mordente III's late request to purchase his prior military service under Connecticut general statutes 5-180(b).

Mr. Fortier arrived at 9:13 a.m.
Mary Marcial arrived at 9:13 a.m.

DIVISION DIRECTOR'S ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT

Administrative

The Director reported that the current backlog of unfinalized State Employees Retirement System (SERS) accounts is approximately 6,571 with 64 new retirees for the month; consisting of 43 normal retirements and 21 disability retirements; 100 applications were finalized, total number of retirement files completed for the month totaled 164; 24 new disability applications were received and 27 applications were put on the Medical Examining Board agenda; 19 disability applications were approved. Currently, there are 46 disability applications pending, 329 incomplete applications, and 148 denied applications with a total of 523 pending / incomplete disability applications as of November, 2008.

The Director updated the Trustees regarding the current negotiation of the Memorandum of Understanding between UConn Health Center and the Medical Examining Board noting that Assistant Director Helen Kemp will be working with the Comptroller's counsel on these negotiations as well as overseeing staffing issues for the Medical Examining Board as of January 1, 2009.

The Director reported that the actuarial subcommittee voted that in cases when the Director needs actuarial work done by Milliman that will be charged to SERF he will notify the Commission members of the request immediately via email (or alternate method) and will give the Commission 48 hours to either veto or amend the request. The Commission agreed and approved this procedure.

Subcommittees

Actuarial
The Actuarial Subcommittee will hold a meeting immediately following the January 8, 2009 Retirement Commission meeting; will discuss the Municipal Employees Retirement System actuarial valuation.

1. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE NOVEMBER 20, 2008 MINUTES

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the November 20, 2008 minutes as amended. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

2. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE DECEMBER 1, 2008 MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE RETIREMENT COMMISSION

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the December 1, 2008 minutes of the Special Meeting of the Commission as amended. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

3. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION CHAIRMAN'S PER DIEM AND TRAVEL EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the State Employees Retirement Commission Chairman's per diem and travel expenses reimbursements. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

4. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM SERVICE RETIREMENTS FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 2008

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the State Employees Retirement System service retirements for the month of November 2008. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

5. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM VOLUNTARY PENDING DISABILITY RETIREMENTS FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 2008

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the State Employees Retirement System voluntary pending disability retirements for the month of November 2008. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

6. REQUEST COMMISSION REVIEW OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM DISABILITY RETIREMENTS FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 2008 APPROVED BY THE MEDICAL EXAMINING BOARD AS OF OCTOBER 31, 2008

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to note and accept the State Employees Retirement System disability retirements for the month of November 2008 approved by the Medical Examining Board as of October 31, 2008. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

7. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT
SYSTEM RETROACTIVE RETIREMENTS FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 2008

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the State Employees Retirement System retroactive retirements for the month of November 2008. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

8. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE MUNICIPAL RETIREMENT
SYSTEM RETIREMENTS

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the Municipal Retirement System Retirements. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

9. REQUEST COMMISSION ACCEPTANCE OF RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE MEDICAL EXAMINING BOARD FROM IT'S MEETINGS OF NOVEMBER 21, 2008 AND DECEMBER 5, 2008 RELATIVE TO APPLICATIONS FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT RECEIVED FROM THE MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to accept the recommendations of the Medical Examining Board from it's meetings of November 21, 2008 and December 5, 2008 relative to applications for disability retirement received from the Municipal Employees Retirement System. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

10. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE JUDGES, FAMILY SUPPORT MAGISTRATES AND COMPENSATION COMMISSIONERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM RETIREMENTS

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the Judges, Family Support Magistrates and Compensation Commissioners Retirement System retirements. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

11. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE CONNECTICUT PROBATE JUDGES AND EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM RETIREMENTS

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the Connecticut Probate Judges and Employees Retirement System retirements. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

12. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE CONNECTICUT PROBATE JUDGES
AND EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT FUND PERSONAL EXPENSES FOR THE MONTH
OF NOVEMBER 2008

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the Connecticut Probate Judges and Employees Retirement System retirements. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

13. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION MANAGEMENT TRUSTEE'S PER DIEM AND TRAVEL EXPENSES REIMBURSEMENTS

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the State Employees Retirement Commission Management Trustee's per diem travel expenses reimbursements. All voted in favor.

Voting in favor of the motion: Ms. Brown-Brewton, Mr. Casella, Mr.Coffey, Mr. Cosgrove, Mr.
Culley, Mr. Fortier, Mr. Greatorex, Mr. Luciano, Ms. Marcial, Mr. McLellan, Mr. Poulin and Ms.
Yelmini.

Abstaining: Mr. Baus

Majority Decision

14. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION UNION TRUSTEE'S PER DIEM AND TRAVEL EXPENSES REIMBURSEMENTS

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the State Employees Retirement Commission Union Trustee's per diem travel expenses reimbursements. All voted in favor.

Voting in favor of the motion: Mr. Baus, Ms. Brown-Brewton, Mr. Caliendo, Mr. Casella, Mr. Coffey, Mr. Cosgrove, Mr. Culley, Mr. Fortier, Mr. Greatorex, Mr. Luciano, Ms. Marcial, Mr. McLellan, and Ms. Yelmini.

Abstaining: Mr. Poulin

Majority Decision

15. REQUEST COMMISSION CONSIDERATION OF THE NOVEMBER 20, 2008 RECOMMENDATIONS RECEIVED FROM ITS SUBCOMMITTEE ON PURCHASE OF SERVICE AND RELATED MATTERS

(1) William Congero

Ms. Yelmini moved, seconded by Mr. Luciano to accept the recommendation of its Subcommittee to approve Mr. Congero's request to transfer his State Employees Retirement System (SERS) plan membership from Tier II to Tier I and purchase all available miscellaneous service including his period of contractual service which immediately preceded his commencement of state service.

Voting in favor of the motion: All

Voting in opposition to the motion: None

Unanimous Decision

The above approval was adopted in accordance with the following findings of the Subcommittee:

The Subcommittee recommends approval of Mr. Congero's request to transfer his SERS membership from Tier II to Tier I.

Mr. Congero commenced state employment with the Department of Education in December 1985 immediately following his period of contractual service with the same state agency from June 1984 to December 1985.

Following the Retirement Commission's decision at its March 27, 2008 meeting that Mr. Congero's contractual service was analogous to the type of contractual service recognized by the Commission as state employment, the Subcommittee construed that his employment commenced in June 1984 therefore operating to allow him Tier I membership. Accordingly, approval of the request was warranted.

(2) Maureen Heaney

Ms. Yelmini moved, seconded by Mr. Luciano to accept the recommendation of its Subcommittee to deny Ms. Heaney's request to purchase her two periods of prior state service from November 4, 1976 to February 23, 1978 and February 14, 1986 to December 15, 1995.

Voting in favor of the motion: All

Voting in opposition to the motion: None

Unanimous Decision

The above denial was adopted in accordance with the following findings of the Subcommittee:

The Subcommittee recommends denial of Ms. Heaney's request to purchase her two periods of prior state service from November 4, 1976 to February 23, 1978 and February 14, 1986 to December 15, 1995.

Ms. Heaney's current employment began on November 3, 2006 whereby mandating her SERS membership in the Tier IIA plan. The file record reflects that Ms. Heaney incurred a permanent break in service after each of her two prior periods of service. Pursuant to SEBAC V, Section 5-193i(a), any period of service prior to a permanent break in service must be excluded from an employee's vesting service. Additionally, there are no provisions within SEBAC V that would allow Ms. Heaney to purchase her prior state service. Accordingly, the Trustees find the evidence insufficient to warrant granting the relief that she was seeking.

(3) Robert Luyster.

Ms. Yelmini moved, seconded by Mr. Luciano to accept the recommendation of its Subcommittee to approve Mr. Luyster's request to nullify his pre-1982 whole (100%) option so that he may make his payment option choice at retirement.

Voting in favor of the motion: All

Voting in opposition to the motion: None

Unanimous Decision

The above approval was adopted in accordance with the following findings of the Subcommittee:

Mr. Luyster retired effective June 1, 2008. During the audit process it was discovered that he had a pre-1982 whole (100%) spouse option in effect therefore the Division could not honor the election of the 50% to spouse option that Mr. Luyster had chosen as his benefit payment form. The record reflects that following the 1982 Pension Agreement, correspondence from Division indicated that previously selected spouse options had been nullified in order to allow the employee at the time of retirement to choose a new spouse option.

Following a Commission decision requiring the employee to give notice that they wanted to change their option Mr. Luyster responded to correspondence in April 1983 to the affirmative that he was choosing to opt out of his previous election. The record reflects that he had not responded to a February 1984 letter that nullified his decision in 1983 and required him to affirmatively opt out of his 1977 election again. The Trustees concluded from the evidence that Mr. Luyster's intent was documented and that the lack of documentation on file with the Division was not necessarily due to any error on his part therefore warranting an approval of his request.

(4) Barbara McFarlane

Ms. Yelmini moved, seconded by Mr. Luciano to accept the recommendation of its Subcommittee to deny Ms. McFarlane's request to purchase retirement credit for her prior state service from March 18, 1983 to August 1, 1985.

Voting in favor of the motion: All

Voting in opposition to the motion: None

Unanimous Decision

The above denial was adopted in accordance with the following findings of the Subcommittee:

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

Although Ms. McFarlane had made a timely application to purchase her prior state service from March 18, 1983 to August 1, 1985 she failed to respond to the Division's payment notices. Ms. McFarlane's explanation that her father accepted receipt of the "last chance" certified letter and never gave it to her is insufficient. Accordingly, the Subcommittee finds no evidence of extenuating circumstances sufficient to justify a waiver of the deadline in light of Ms. McFarlane's prior forfeiture.

(5) Robert Roy

Ms. Yelmini moved, seconded by Mr. Luciano to accept the recommendation of its Subcommittee to approve Mr. Roy's request to purchase retirement credit for his two prior periods of summer employment in 1973 and 1974.

Voting in favor of the motion: All

Voting in opposition to the motion: None

Unanimous Decision

The above approval was adopted in accordance with the following findings of the Subcommittee:

The Subcommittee unanimously recommends approval of Mr. Roy's request to purchase retirement credit under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-181(a) for his two periods of summer employment in 1973 and 1974.

The record reflects that Mr. Roy was placed on the University of Connecticut (UCONN) student payroll for both periods of employment; an action which is ineligible for retirement purposes. Mr. Roy asserts that he was not a student at UCONN and had been selected from a pool of candidates on his own merits. The Trustees concluded that UCONN's placement of Mr. Roy as a summer worker on the student payroll was inappropriate and warranted a waiver of the long-standing Commission decision of excluding service as a student worker from the definition of state service.

(6) Charles Ruffin

Ms. Yelmini moved, seconded by Mr. Luciano to accept the recommendation of its Subcommittee to deny Mr. Ruffin's late request to purchase retirement credit for his prior military service under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-180(b).

Voting in favor of the motion: All

Voting in opposition to the motion: None

Unanimous Decision

The above denial was adopted in accordance with the following findings of the Subcommittee:

The Subcommittee unanimously recommends denial of Mr. Ruffin's late request to purchase retirement credit for his prior military service from December 20, 1981 to February 7, 1983 under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-180(b).

Mr. Ruffin's assertion that he was provided erroneous information by his personnel officer regarding his eligibility to purchase this type of service for retirement purposes is uncorroborated. Accordingly, the Subcommittee finds insufficient evidence of extenuating circumstances that would justify a waiver of the deadline.

Unanimous Decision

TABLED MATTER

16. AGENDA ITEM NO 17, NOVEMBER 20, 2008 REQUEST COMMISSION CONSIDERATION OF THE JUNE 15, 2007 RECOMMENDATION OF ITS SUBCOMMITTEE ON PURCHASE OF SERVICE AND RELATED MATTERS IN THE CASE OF GIACOMO MORDENTE III's LATE REQUEST TO PURCHASE HIS PRIOR MILITARY SERVICE UNDER CONNECTICUT GENERAL STATUTES 5-180(b)

Giacomo Mordente a Tier I, Plan B member of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) applied in July 2001 to purchase retirement credit under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-180(b) for his prior military service from August 25, 1970 to February 11, 1974 and from August 30, 1974 to May 18, 1975. In February 2005, the Retirement Services Division denied his application as untimely, advising the member that there was an October 1, 1985 deadline applicable to this type of purchase.

By letter dated March 30, 2007 Mr. Mordente requested Retirement Commission review of the Division's denial.

Following his submission of additional documentation the claim was presented before the Subcommittee on Purchase of Service and Related Matters wherein the Subcommittee by majority vote recommended approval of Mr. Mordente's request stating that the documentation provided to Mr. Mordente by his employing agency appeared to be very confusing and in their opinion was enough of an extenuating circumstance that warranted a waiver of the October 1, 1985 deadline.

At its August 23, 2007 meeting the Retirement Commission voted to table the Subcommittees recommendation so that the case history could be presented before the Commission for consideration. The claim was subsequently presented before the Commission at its October 18, 2007 meeting. Following discussion, a motion accepting the recommendation of the Subcommittee was again made however it resulted in a tie vote. Before casting a tie breaking vote the Chairman determined to have the claimant come before the Commission to present his case. In that connection, at its August 28, 2008 meeting, Mr. Mordente accompanied by Staff Representative, Paul Wallace of AFSME Council 4 appeared before the Commission.

Mr. Wallace began the presentation by providing background history of what had occurred regarding Mr. Mordente's efforts in requesting retirement credit for his military service. Mr. Wallace cited correspondence from the Interim Human Resource Director that supported the claim that Mr. Mordente was never advised of the October 1, 1985 deadline associated with this type of purchase. Trustee Yelmini pointed out to the claimant and the staff representative that the Commission operates on a rebuttable presumption of notice of the deadline date and that what was required was that someone who was at the agency at the time of the deadline could verify that Mr. Mordente did not receive notice.

There was continued discussion regarding the notices regarding the October 1, 1985 deadline that were sent from the Retirement Services Division at that time.
The Chairman then questioned Mr. Mordente as to whether he was abandoning his claim of being misled by the documents provided to him. Mr. Mordente confirmed that he was no longer making that claim. Following further discussion Trustee Yelmini suggested to Mr. Mordente that he try to find an individual who was employed at SCSU during the period of time who could corroborate his claim.

The Chairman agreed and indicated to Mr. Mordente that his claim could be tabled to give him the opportunity to do this. Mr. Mordente upon requesting information on the statutory provisions pertaining to his purchase request and copies of the notices given to employees regarding the October 1, 1985 agreed to have the claim tabled. The Chairman indicated that this information would be sent to him and thanked Mr. Mordente and Mr. Wallace for their appearance.

That information was provided to Mr. Mordente as an attachment to correspondence from the Division dated September 2, 2008. By letter dated October 17, 2008, Mordente responded by re-affirming his claim that it was impossible to get comment from any of the individuals who may have been employed in his employing agency's human resource office in 1985 and that if he had been aware of the notices regarding the October 1, 1985 deadline he would have acted accordingly.

The Chairman after reviewing the documentation associated with this claim cast a tie breaking vote in favor of Mr. Mordente's request to purchase his prior military service. The Chairman stressed that he had made his determination based upon the facts of this case by itself which included his belief that the documentation provided to Mr. Mordente during the early part of his career was not consistent and appeared confusing. Additionally, from the evidence provided it could be construed that the agency was corroborating Mr. Mordente's claim of never receiving any notice of the October 1, 1985 deadline.

At this juncture, Ms. Yelmini moved, seconded by Mr. Luciano for the Trustees to enter into
Executive Session with Attorney Michael Rose of Rose Kallor LLC, at 9:47 a.m. to report to the
Commission an update of Longley related matters. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

Mr. Baus moved, seconded by Mr Greatorex to go out of executive session at 10:57 a.m. All voted in favor.

Unanimous Decision

ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Baus moved, seconded by Mr. Culley to adjourn the meeting. All voted in favor.

The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 10:58 a.m.

______________________________
Peter R. Blum. Chairman
State Employees Retirement Commission

_________________________________
Thomas C. Woodruff, Ph.D., Director

Return to Meetings, Agendas and Minutes Home Page
Return to Comptroller's Home Page