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Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System v. Contributory Retirement Appeal Board, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-162-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11287   MASSACHUSETTS TEACHERS’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM  vs.  CONTRIBUTORY RETIREMENT APPEAL BOARD & another.[1]     Suffolk.     May 6, 2013.  ‑  August 28, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     Contributory Retirement Appeal Board.  Retirement.  Public Employment, Retirement.  School and School Committee, Retirement benefits.  Interest.  Administrative Law, Regulations, Agency’s interpretation of regulation, Agency’s interpretation of statute.  Regulation.  Statute, Construction.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on August 20, 2010.   The case was heard by Janet L. Sanders, J., on a motion for judgment on the pleadings.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     James C. O’Leary (James H. Salvie, Special Assistant Attorney General, with him) for the plaintiff. Kirk G. Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for Contributory Retirement Appeals Board. Timothy J. Smyth, for Boston Retirement Board, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     DUFFLY, J.  We are called upon to settle a dispute between two administrative agencies, the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (MTRS) and the Contributory Retirement Appeal Board (CRAB), concerning the validity of a regulation promulgated by MTRS. James T. Walsh had been a professional electrician for many years when, in 1980, he was certified by the Department of Education to teach in his occupational field.  In October, 1987, he began full-time employment at a vocational school and became a member of MTRS.  In December, 2005, before the effective date of his retirement the following June, Walsh applied to MTRS to increase his anticipated retirement allowance by adding to his “creditable service” (his years of service as a member of MTRS) through the “buyback” of three years of creditable service, based on his work experience as an electrician.  Walsh sought credit for service performed from February 1, 1977, through January 31, 1980.  This buyback required Walsh to pay certain “makeup payments” into the annuity savings fund of MTRS, in accordance with a formula set forth in G. L. c. 32, § 4 (1) (h1/2) (trade service credit statute).  That statutory formula calls for “buyback interest” to be paid on such makeup payments.  Pursuant to 807 Code Mass. Regs. § 14.05 (2005), a regulation promulgated by MTRS, MTRS assessed buyback interest to commence as of February 1, 1977, the beginning of the three-year period for which Walsh sought trade service credit. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 29, 2013 at 1:09 am

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