Thursday, 4:30 PM
Retirement board rejects pension increase of former lawmakers
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
The state retirement board today unanimously rejected petitions by three former state representatives who wanted their pensions increased to reflect the perks of office, including the value of state parking spaces on Beacon Hill, a $600 monthly stipend for expenses, and costs for traveling to and from the State House.
The former lawmakers were aiming to capitalize on a recent state Supreme Judicial Court decision that allowed former University of Massachusetts president William M. Bulger to include his housing allowance in the calculation of his retirement plan and boost his pension by $17,000.
State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, the chairman of the retirement board, said that allowing the former legislators to include the perks in their pensions would spark a stampede by hundreds of other retired state employees seeking similar benefits.
The representatives -- Susan W. Pope, a Republican from Wayland; Thomas George, a Republican from Yarmouth; and Marie Parente, a Democrat from Milford -- said they were both disappointed and angered by the board's decision. Each said that they are considering filing a lawsuit to fight to increase their pensions.
Parente called the board's vote a political decision motived by a lack of respect for lawmakers.
"I think it's popular to beat up on state reps and elected officials," said Parente, who served in the Legislature for 26 years. "That's the wave right across the country."