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Session Law

2001

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Chapter 218 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A JUDICIARY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM.

Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide forthwith for a fair and orderly manner in which the number of employees of the judiciary can be reduced in order that the judiciary will be able to keep expenditures within the amounts appropriated, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Notwithstanding chapter 32 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the state board of retirement, established under section 18 of chapter 10 of the General Laws, shall establish and implement a retirement incentive for employees of the judiciary, hereinafter referred to as the judiciary retirement incentive program, in accordance with this act. In order to be deemed eligible by said board for any of the benefit options under the judiciary retirement incentive program, an employee: (i) shall be an employee of the judicial branch or persons employed as court officers by the general court on the effective date of this act; (ii) shall be a member in active service of the state retirement system on the effective date of this act; (iii) shall be classified in Group 1 or Group 2 of said retirement system in accordance with clause (g) of subdivision (2) of section 3 of said chapter 32; (iv) shall be eligible to receive a superannuation retirement allowance in accordance with subdivision (1) of section 5 of said chapter 32 or subdivision (1) of section 10 of said chapter 32 upon the date of retirement requested in his written application for retirement with said board; (v) shall have received his pay advices via the commonwealth's human resources compensation management system; (vi) shall have filed a written application with said board in accordance with section 2; and (vii) shall not be serving as the chief justice or an associate justice of the supreme judicial court, a chief justice or an associate justice of the appeals court or a justice of the trial court. The total number of eligible employees who may receive the benefit of the judiciary retirement incentive program shall be limited to 1,000. Employees with a greater number of years of creditable service on the effective date of this act shall be approved by the state board of retirement before approval shall be given to employees with a lesser number of years of creditable service on the effective date of this act. An employee eligible for the program pursuant to the criteria established in this section who entered the service of the commonwealth before January 1, 1975 and has 5 per cent of his regular compensation withheld in accordance with clause (i) of paragraph (b) of subdivision (1) of section 22 of said chapter 32 or an employee who is eligible pursuant to the criteria established in this section who entered the service of the commonwealth on or after January 1, 1975 but before January 1, 1984 and has 7 per cent of his regular compensation withheld in accordance with clause (ii) of said paragraph (b) of said subdivision (1) of said section 22 of said chapter 32 shall be eligible to receive the benefit of the judiciary retirement incentive program.

Notwithstanding this act or any general or special law to the contrary, employees whose regular compensation is funded from federal, trust or capital accounts pursuant to chapter 29 of the General Laws shall not be eligible to receive the benefit. The application filed for retirement under this act may be delivered in person or by mail to the state board of retirement. No employee shall be eligible for more than 1 of the incentives offered in this act and no employee may become eligible for 1 incentive by virtue of the application of a different incentive.

Words used in this act shall have the same meaning as they are used in chapter 32 of the General Laws unless otherwise expressly provided or unless the context clearly requires otherwise. Any employee of the judiciary who retires and receives an additional benefit in accordance with this act shall be deemed to be retired for superannuation under said chapter 32 and shall be subject to all of said chapter 32.

Elected officials shall not be authorized to participate in the judiciary retirement incentive program.

SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any provision of section 5 of chapter 32 of the General Laws that requires a retirement date within 4 months of the filing of an application for superannuation retirement, in order to receive the retirement benefit provided by this act, an eligible employee, except as otherwise provided in this act, shall file his application for retirement with the state board of retirement not earlier than January 2, 2002 and not later than January 23, 2002. The retirement date requested shall be not later than February 1, 2002.

SECTION 3. An employee who is eligible for the judiciary retirement incentive program may request in his application for retirement that the state board of retirement credit him with an additional retirement benefit in accordance with this section. Each such employee shall request and receive a combination of years of creditable service and years of age, the sum of which shall not be greater than 5 years, for the purposes of determining his superannuation retirement allowance pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (a) of subdivision (2) of section 5 of chapter 32 of the General Laws.

Notwithstanding the credit, the total normal yearly amount of the retirement allowance, as determined in accordance with the provisions of said section 5 of said chapter 32, of an employee who retires and receives the judiciary retirement incentive program benefit shall not exceed 80 per cent of the average annual rate of his regular compensation as determined in accordance with said section 5 of said chapter 32.

SECTION 4. For a married employee who retires and receives an additional benefit under this act, an election of a retirement option under section 12 of chapter 32 of the General Laws shall not be valid unless: (i) it is accompanied by the signature of the member's spouse indicating the spouse's knowledge and understanding of the retirement option selected; or (ii) a certification by the state board of retirement that the spouse has received notice of such election as provided in this section. If a member who is married files an election which is not signed by the spouse, the state board of retirement shall notify the member's spouse within 15 days by registered mail of the option election and the election shall not take effect until 30 days after the date on which the notification was sent. Any such election may be changed by the member at any time within 30 days or at any other time permitted under said chapter 32. Nothing in this section shall affect the effective date of any retirement allowance but, in the event of an election having been filed which is not so accompanied, the payment of an allowance so elected shall not be commenced earlier than 30 days after the state board of retirement sends the required notice.

SECTION 5. The state board of retirement shall provide retirement counseling to employees who choose to consider retiring or who choose to retire under the judiciary retirement incentive program. Such counseling shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (i) a full explanation of the retirement benefits provided by this act; (ii) a comparison of the expected lifetime retirement benefits payable to an employee under the retirement incentive program and under the existing chapter 32 of the General Laws; (iii) the election of a retirement option under section 12 of said chapter 32; (iv) the restrictions on employment after retirement; (v) the laws relative to the payment of cost-of-living adjustments to the retirement allowance; and (vi) the effect of federal and state taxation on retirement income. The group insurance commission shall provide counseling to such employees about the provision of health care benefits under chapter 32A of the General Laws. Each such employee shall sign a statement that he has received the counseling or that he does not want to receive the counseling prior to the approval by the state board of retirement of the employee's application for superannuation benefits and the additional benefit provided by this act.

Pursuant to section 98 of said chapter 32, the state treasurer may make advance payments in an amount not to exceed any retirement allowance actually due to an employee who is eligible for and who has filed an application for retirement under the judiciary retirement incentive program and who does not receive a retirement allowance within 90 days after submitting a retirement application, during such period as is necessary for the processing of the application for retirement.

SECTION 6. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, no person shall be hired or appointed by the trial court on a permanent or temporary basis to fill a position made vacant by the retirement of an employee receiving an additional benefit in accordance with this act and the comptroller shall not authorize the payment of any regular compensation, including paid leave, vacation, salary in lieu of vacation, payment in lieu of maintenance, holiday pay, overtime pay and salary differentials from any account funded by an appropriation to any such person on or after February 1, 2002 until June 30, 2004. If the chief justice for administration and management determines that a position is critical and essential to the operations of or services provided by the commonwealth, such chief justice shall include such position in a schedule which shall include: (i) the classification title of each position; (ii) the item of appropriation in chapter 177 of the acts of 2001 in which the position is funded; (iii) the number of positions listed in the schedule with the title; (iv) the salary range payable to each position; and (v) the approximate date during the fiscal period of February 1, 2002 to June 30, 2004, inclusive, that it is determined that the position shall be filled. Said chief justice for administration and management shall prepare 1 or more supplementary schedules in the same form if said chief justice shall determine that a supplementary schedule shall be necessary. The schedule shall be filed with the house and senate committees on ways and means and the positions may be filled before June 30, 2004 but in no instance shall such positions be filled earlier than 10 days following the filing of the schedule with said committees. The total annualized cost of regular compensation paid out by the commonwealth in fiscal year 2003 for refilled positions in the trial court shall not exceed 20 per cent of the total annualized cost of regular compensation which would have been paid out by the commonwealth during fiscal year 2003 for the positions vacated in the trial court pursuant to the judiciary retirement incentive program had such positions not been vacated. The total annualized cost of regular compensation paid out by the commonwealth in fiscal year 2004 for refilled positions in the trial court shall not exceed 20 per cent of the total annualized cost of regular compensation which would have been paid out by the commonwealth during fiscal year 2004 for the positions vacated in the trial court pursuant to the judiciary retirement incentive program had such positions not been vacated.

The chief justice for administration and management or any appointing authority of the trial court shall not create a position title or similar position within the same item of appropriation as those contained in the list filed pursuant to section 8 before June 30, 2004. The comptroller shall authorize the payment of any regular compensation, including paid leave, vacation, salary in lieu of vacation, payment in lieu of maintenance, holiday pay, overtime pay and salary differentials for position titles on file pursuant to section 8.

SECTION 7. The comptroller, in conjunction with the state board of retirement, shall certify to the house and senate committees on ways and means by April 15, 2002 the total value of compensation of the last pay period prior to February 1, 2002, by line item, of each individual who has enrolled in the judiciary retirement incentive program.

SECTION 8. The chief justice for administration and management or any appointing authority of the trial court shall list each position made vacant by the retirement of an employee of the trial court receiving an additional benefit in accordance with this act and shall file such list with the house and senate committees on ways and means and the comptroller not later than February 15, 2002 and shall supplement the list as may be deemed necessary through June 30, 2004. For each such position, the list shall include the item of appropriation from chapter 177 of the acts of 2001 in which the position is funded, the classification title of the position, the salary range for the title and the salary payable to the person who retired from the position. The list and any supplements to it shall state which of the positions have been refilled, the date on which the positions were refilled and annual salary of the refilled positions.

SECTION 9. The executive director of the public employee retirement administration commission shall analyze, study and evaluate the costs and actuarial liabilities attributable to the additional benefits payable in accordance with this act. Said commission shall file a report with the secretary of administration and finance, the joint committee on public service and the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before November 30, 2002.

SECTION 10. Notwithstanding any general or special law or collective bargaining agreement or other employment contract to the contrary and in consideration of the benefits conferred in this act, an employee of the judiciary who elects to retire under this act and is eligible to receive a payment in lieu of accrued vacation time, unused sick leave or other benefit under such agreement or contract shall waive that payment within 30 days and shall receive 1/3 of such payment on July 1, 2002, 1/3 of such payment on July 1, 2003 and 1/3 of such payment on July 1, 2004. Each such employee shall sign a statement that he has agreed to receive 1/3 of such payment on July 1, 2002, 1/3 of such payment on July 1, 2003 and 1/3 of such payment on July 1, 2004 prior to the approval by the state board of retirement of the employee's application for superannuation benefits and the additional benefit provided by this act. The state board of retirement shall deny an application for early retirement under this act by an employee who belongs to a bargaining unit for which a collective bargaining agreement inconsistent with this section is in effect at the time of the application unless the employee organization representing the employee has filed with said board and with the chief justice for administration and management a statement waiving any inconsistent provision of the agreement on behalf of all members of the bargaining unit who file applications under this act.

SECTION 11. An agency or department with an employee opting into the retirement incentive program under this act shall submit to the house and senate committees on ways and means a report detailing the amounts of sick and vacation time accrued for each such employee.

Approved December 29, 2001.

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