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

July 16, 2009

TRUSTEES PRESENT
Peter R. Blum, Chairman
Bob Baus
S. Fae Brown-Brewton
Steve Caliendo
Charles Casella (via phone)
Thomas Culley
Paul Fortier
Steve Greatorex
Sal Luciano
Ronald McLellan
Claude Poulin
Linda Yelmini
ABSENT
Robert Coffey
Richard Cosgrove
Jeffrey Smith, Municipal Liaison
OTHERS PRESENT
Mark Ojakian, Deputy Comptroller & Director, Retirement Services
Helen Kemp, Assistant Director, Counsel for the Retirement & Benefit Services Division
Karen Buffkin, Counsel for the State Comptroller
Peggy Gray, Executive Assistant, Retirement Services
GUESTS
George Spurlock

CALL TO ORDER
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 9:07 a.m.
CHAIRMAN'S REPORT
The Chairman reported on correspondence from Attorney Moukawsher concerning some
clients. Helen is drafting a response outlining the proper channels to follow.

DIVISION DIRECTOR'S ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT
Administrative
Pending Disability Applications as of June 30, 2009 are as follows: Applications pending review are 75, with 336 waiting for additional information. The number of denied applications was 157 for a total pending of 568 applications. The numbers for May were 33 applications received, 32 are on the agenda and 19 applications were approved.
The next available meeting for scheduling is October 2009.
The Regulation Subcommittee met on Overpayments, July 8 2009. The recommendations from that
meeting are attached to the agenda. The next meeting is set for August 4, 2009.
The Actuarial RFP for MERS: Negotiations are complete. Buck agreed to some concessions concerning valuations going biennial, reduction in price by $10,000 over four years and some consent/conflict of interest provisions. The Agreement is being worked on and will be made available to the Trustees as soon as it is complete.
The Actuarial RFP for SERS is still being negotiated.
For the month of June there were 616 new retirements of which 557 were RIP eligible. For
July, 3218 applications were received with 1295 that will be processed for the July payroll of which 34 are disabilities. The Division is not able to determine the breakdown between RIP and non-RIP
at this time.

1. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 18, 2009 MINUTES
Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to table voting on the minutes until they are amended
for the next meeting All voted in favor.
Unanimous Decision

2. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT
COMMISSION CHAIRMAN'S PER DIEM EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT
Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Mr. Culley to approve the State Employees Retirement Commission Chairman's per diem expenses reimbursements. All voted in favor.
Unanimous Decision
3. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM SERVICE RETIREMENTS FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE, 2009.
Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the Retirement System service Retirements for the month of June, 2009. All voted in favor
Unanimous Decision
4. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM VOLUNTARY PENDING DISABILITY RETIREMENTS FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE, 2009

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the State Employees Retirement System
Voluntary Pending retirements for the month of June, 2009. All voted in favor.
Unanimous Decision
5. REQUEST COMMISSION REVIEW OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM DISABILITY RETIREMENTS FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 2009
APPROVED BY THE MEDICAL EXAMINING BOARD AS OF MAY 31, 2009

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to accept the Employees Retirement System Disability
Retirements as approved by the Medical Examining Board. All voted in favor.
Unanimous Decision
6. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE CONNECTICUT STATE EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT SYSTEM RETROACTIVE RETIREMENTS FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 2009.

Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the Connecticut State Employee Retirement System Retroactive Retirements for the month of June 2009. All voted in Favor
Unanimous Decision
7. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE CONNECTICUT PROBATE JUDGES AND EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT FUND PERSONAL EXPENSES FOR THE MONTH
OF JUNE 2009.
Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Ms. Yelmini to approve the Connecticut Probate Judges and Employees Retirement Fund Personal Expenses for the month of June 2009. All voted in Favor
Unanimous Decision
8. REQUEST COMMISSION APPROVAL OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT COMMISSION MANAGEMENT TRUSTEES PER DIEM AND TRAVEL EXPENSES REIMBURSEMENTS
Mr. Luciano moved, seconded by Mr. Poulin to approve the State Employees Retirement Commission Management Trustee's per diem and travel expenses reimbursements. All voted in favor.
Mr. Baus abstained
Majority Decision

9. 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 and travel expenses. All voted in favor.
Mr. Poulin abstained
Majority Decision

10. REPORT OF STATE EMPLOYEES SYSTEM EXPENSES FOR CURRENT FISCAL YEAR AS REQUESTED BY COMMISSION TRUSTEES FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 2009.
Commission Trustees reviewed the report.
11. 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
12. REQUEST COMMISSION CONSIDERATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS RECEIVED FROM its SUBCOMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND OVERPAYMENTS ON JULY 8, 2009
Upon motion by Mr. Luciano and upon second by Mr. Culley, the Commission adopted the recommendations of the Regulation and Overpayment Subcommittee with regard to the following individuals and their requests for a waiver of the repayment of overpayment:
A. Priscilla Dickman Overpayment: $25,865.09
Case Summary: Mrs. Dickman was a Tier I contributory a member of SERS from January 27, 1978 to October 31, 2005 and her last position with the State of CT was that of a Medical Technologist II at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She was approved for a non-service connected disability on December 5, 2005, with an effective date of November 1, 2005. Mrs. Dickman's overpayment occurred as a result of her receipt of workers compensation monies in October 2006 and an award of social security benefits in January 2008 both of which are offsets to a SERS disability retirement benefit.
Prior to acting on this item, Ms. Yelmini informed the Commission that she had received correspondence from Mrs. Dickman relative to her request for waiver of the repayment of overpayment. Mrs. Yelmini presented the correspondence to the Commission. It was determined that the information and arguments contained in the correspondence were similar to that already presented by Mrs. Dickman and included in the documents reviewed by the subcommittee. The Commission instructed that this correspondence be placed in Mrs. Dickman waiver file.
Commission accepted the recommendations of the subcommittee and found that: (1) Ms. Dickman was not at fault; (2) Ms. Dickman should have reasonably known that her disability retirement benefit would be offset (reduced) by her SSDI Award; and (3) that she did not show hardship with regard to repayment. The Commission set the repayment rate for Ms. Dickman at fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500) per month (17 deductions of $1,500.00 and one deduction of $365.69). The Commission found that that workers compensation benefits being received by Mrs. Dickman were to be included as offsets to her SERS disability retirement benefit.
B. Michael Cozzolino Overpayment $ 203,639.52
Case Summary: Mr. Cozzolino retired with a hazardous duty retirement benefit in 2003. His records indicated that at the time he retired in 2003 he was receiving workers compensation disability compensation payments pursuant to Section 5-142(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS). The concurrent receipt of voluntary, normal or hazardous duty retirement income and disability compensation pursuant to Section 5-142(a) is specifically barred by statute.
Mr. Cozzolino was informed of this fact via letter April 28, 2003. He was informed that he needed to notify the Division when such payments cease. He was told that he needed to provide documentation from the State of Connecticut's third party administrator of workers compensation benefits detailing the cessation of disability compensation payments to him which he did. He was sent a follow up letter on May 6, 2003 reminding him that should he received 5-142(a) payments in the future he was to immediately notify the Division as receipt of such payments would terminate his SERS disability benefit.
Less than two years later, Mr. Cozzolino once again began to receive Sec. 5-142(a) payments. He continued to receive them for a period of approximately 4 years: March 18, 2005 to March 29, 2009. Contrary to the two letters he had received, and his previous experience, Mr. Cozzolino did not notify the Division. In March 2009, the Division found out about these payments through WC records it received from GAB Robbins.
Division Counsel noted a scrivener's error in the summary she had prepared for the Commission: Mr. Cozzolino was not receiving a disability retirement benefit as indicated but rather was receiving a hazardous duty retirement benefit.
Action: Commission accepted the recommendations of the subcommittee and denied Mr. Cozzolino's request for waiver. The Commission found that Mr. Cozzolino was at fault for not notifying the Division of his receipt of Sec. 5-142 benefits as instructed in his April 28, 2003 and May 6, 2003 letters; (2) that Mr. Cozzolino knew of the constraints and adverse effect of benefits received under Sec. 5-142 as applied to disability retirement payments; and (3) upon review of his financial information, Mr. Cozzolino did not show that repayment of the amount was a hardship. The Commission set the repayment rate for Mr. Cozzolino as his entire SERS benefit check until such time the amount has been repaid.
C. Joseph Baron: Overpayment: $ 610.68
Case History: Mr. Baron was a former employee of the Windsor Locks Police Department. He retired on March 3, 2005. He was 62 years old in April 2009 at which his benefit was to be reduced due to the CMERS' system built-in social security reduction. MERS' current procedure is to automatically review the file and to recalculate the benefit for every member at significant events such as for the age 62 social security reduction. During this review, MERS noted that it appeared that Mr. Baron had received a "retro" payment of $2,510.98 in December 1998 and $6,154.34 for August 2001. The retro payments were counted toward that year's annual wages. In MERS, a "retro" payment is spread out evenly over the months/years that the member should have received the earnings. While the difference was only a few dollars per month, spread over four months and coupled with COLA increases, the total amount of overpayment came to $610.68.
Action: Commission accepted the recommendations of the subcommittee and denied Mr. Baron's request for waiver. The Commission found that Mr. Baron was not at fault for the error; (2) that Mr. Baron could not have reasonably known of the mistake in the application of the retro payment and (3) that Mr. Baron did not show that repayment of the $610.68 was a hardship. The Commission accepted the subcommittee's recommendation that an appropriate repayment rate for Mr. Baron be set at 12 months at a deduction of $ 50.89 per month.
D. Roosevelt Brown: Overpayment: $11,362.93
Mr. Brown, a MERS employee, retired on March 3, 2004. A routine audit revealed an error in the calculation of his retirement benefit - his benefit was not reduced for his choice of retirement options. He was paid at the straight life rate when the benefit should have been appropriately reduced because he chose a joint and survivor option.
Action: Commission accepted the recommendations of the subcommittee and denied Mr. Brown's request for waiver. The Commission found that Mr. Brown was not at fault for the error; (2) that Mr. Brown could not have reasonably known of the mistake in the application of the retro payment and (3) that Mr. Brown did not show that repayment of the $11,362.93 was a hardship. The Commission accepted the subcommittee's recommendation that an appropriate repayment rate for Mr. Brown be set at 28 months at a deduction of $ 400.00 and for one month by $ 162.93.
E. Aldaberto Rodriguez Overpayment: $67,625.35

The CMERS system has a built-in social security reduction. Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 7-437 requires the CMERS retirement benefit be reduced when the retiree is eligible for social security (age 62) or earlier if the retiree receives a Social Security disability benefit. Mr. Rodriguez is a former employee of the City of Hartford. He was advised that his benefit would be reduced at age 62 or upon receipt of a social security disability award. In the same January 16, 1998 letter he was also advised that if he received a social security disability award, he needed to furnish CMERS with a copy of the award notice.
He received social security disability payments beginning in October 1997 - he did not tell MERS he was receiving this money in January 1998 upon receipt of his letter. He received additional SSDI monies beginning in October 1998. He did not notify MERS that he was receiving these monies at that time.

Action: Commission accepted the recommendations of the subcommittee and denied Mr. Rodriguez' request for waiver. The Commission found that (1) Mr. Rodriguez was at fault for the error as he did not notify MERS of his SSDI award as he had been instructed to do (January 16, 1998 letter); (2) that Mr. Rodriguez could have reasonably known of the overpayment as he knew that an SSDI Award was an offset to his MERS benefit and (3) that Mr. Rodriguez did not show that repayment of the $67,625.35 was a hardship. The Commission accepted the subcommittee's recommendation that an appropriate repayment rate for Mr. Rodriguez be set at a deduction of $ 563.54 for 119 months and for one month by $ 564.09.

DISCUSSION ITEM:
THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE NEW OPTION TABLES AND HOW THEY AFFECT THE SPOUSAL OPTION.
Mr. Greatorex explained that at a SEBAC meeting comments were made that some folks who retired in the June payroll cycle may not have chosen the spousal option based on the old Option Tables without benefit of comparison with the new OptionTables. Since the Commission has the list of retirees Mr. Greatorex and Mark Ojakian, Deputy Comptroller, will look at the lists to see if anyone might have been affected.
Hearing no further discussion the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. Mr. Luciano moved, seconded
by Mr. Greatorex to adjourn the meeting at 9:45 AM.


______________________________
Peter R. Blum. Chairman
State Employees Retirement Commission

_________________________________
Mark E. Ojakian
Deputy Comptroller and Director of Retirement Servi

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