Skip to comments.Ford receiving $2,507 monthly retirement
Posted on 05/31/2005 3:25:17 PM PDT by SmithL
NASHVILLE A day before his resignation from the state Senate was announced, John Ford had submitted the paperwork that will entitle him to a $2,507 monthly state retirement check, an official said Tuesday.
Ford's retirement was effective Sunday and will continue even if he is convicted on federal bribery and extortion charges levied against him, according to Ed Hennessee, director of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.
The Legislature has passed two laws declaring that public officials convicted of a crime related to their official duties forfeit their retirement benefits, Hennessee said. But neither applies to Ford, who was elected prior to either law taking effect.
The first law was passed after the late former Gov. Ray Blanton was convicted in a state liquor license sales scheme and took effect July 1, 1982. That law applied only to officials convicted in a state court.
Karen Blanton, widow of the governor who left office in 1979, continues today to draw a $1,770 monthly retirement check as his survivor, Hennessee said.
The second law was passed in 1993, after the conviction in federal court of Dyer County Circuit Court Judge David Lanier on charges involving sexual harassment of women who appeared in his courtroom. It says people convicted in federal courts of crimes involving their public office also forfeit their retirement benefits.
But, as with the 1982 law, the statute does not apply to people who took office and began accumulating retirement credit prior to the effective date of the law. As with Blanton, Lanier was excluded from the law he inspired.
Hennessee said the "grandfather clauses" simply reflect the reality of established court rulings.
"Federal courts have ruled that you can't retroactively cancel retirement benefits," he said.
Lanier, who served 10 years as a judge, continues to draw a $1,695 monthly state retirement check, Hennessee said.
Ford was first elected to the Legislature in 1974. A law passed in 1976 declares that legislators cannot earn more in retirement pay than they did as an active legislator currently $16,500 per year.
But, again, the law did not apply to legislators already in office when the 1976 law took effect. Also, Ford served four years as Shelby County General Sessions Court clerk a position that also allowed him to accumulate credit in the state retirement system.
For both reasons, Ford is not covered by $16,500 cap on retirement benefits for most legislators, Hennessee said. His yearly total state retirement benefit is $30,084. The former senator is credited with a total of 30 years, six months service, he said.
Hennessee said Ford, at age 63, was entitled to full retirement upon application. The former senator had filled out his retirement form and had it notarized on March 15. The form was delivered to Hennessee's Nashville office on Friday.
Hennessee said he was not at work on Friday, but it appears the form was hand-delivered.
Ford's letter of resignation was read to the state Senate on Saturday by Lt. Gov. John Wilder and was effective immediately. Under state law, that means Ford's retirement benefits began the following day, Sunday, Hennessee said.
Oh, that Ford.
Extortion? Now that's serious stuff - isn't that threatening death for a payoff?
Paying him to be gone is still a good investment for Tennessee.
Oh yeah? Tell that to United Airlines or General Motors...
Unless a statue, duely passed by a legislature, coupled with a conviction and sentence by a jury of his peers, provide for the forfeiture of retirement benefits, I see no reason why even a felon should not collect a pension he is entitled to under prevailing law.
Nor would I support laws to deprive government officials convicted of crimes of their pensions, unless in some way their apparent entitlement to the pension or a portion thereof was the result of criminal activity (for instance, an elected official who was elected fraudlently, which fraud was proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, might reasonably be deprived of the portion of a pension corresponding to the fradulent term.)
I think in this case he's refering to the prohibition on ex post facto laws. The corporations took advantage of provisions of prevailing provisions in bankruptcy and pension law which don't apply in this case. The relevant point of law here is that legislatures can't retroactively make already earned benefits not dependent on good conduct or lack of criminal conviction under previously existing law subject to cancellation on the basis of a criminal conviction.
Don't let JUNIOR fool you he is a dyed in the wool LIBERAL. He votes about 6 points to the right of teddy kennedy and nancy pelosi. NRA rates him F, Eagle Forum and Conservative Union give him very, very low marks. Never met a tax hike he did embrass, or a anti-gun bill he didn's support, or an abortion bill he didn't support.
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