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Arnold v. Bd. of Trustees

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 25, 1980.

HENRY ARNOLD ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE COUNTY EMPLOYEES' ANNUITY AND BENEFIT FUND OF COOK COUNTY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. RICHARD L. CURRY, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE GOLDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The Board of Trustees of the County Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Cook County (defendant), cancelled payment of further pension benefits to Henry J. Arnold (plaintiff), formerly a county employee, because he had pleaded guilty to a felony relating to his employment. Arnold and his wife Edythe sought review of the judicial administrative decision of the defendant. The trial court affirmed the pension revocation. Plaintiffs appeal.

The following factual chronology is undisputed:

(1) Plaintiff became an employee of Cook County and a participant in the pension fund in November 1940.

(2) During 1955 a statute was passed which provided for forfeiture of pension rights as to employees convicted of a felony arising out of service of the employee.

(3) On January 1, 1973, the county commenced paying a pension to plaintiff.

(4) On August 2, 1973, plaintiff pleaded guilty to a felony arising out of his service as an employee.

(5) On September 7, 1973, the defendant voted to terminate plaintiff's pension.

The present pertinent statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 108 1/2, par. 9-235) provides:

"None of the benefits provided in this Article shall be paid to any person who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with his service as an employee.

This section shall not operate to impair any contract or vested right heretofore acquired under any law or laws continued in this Article, nor to preclude the right to a refund.

All future entrants entering service after July 11, 1955, shall be deemed to have consented to the provisions of this section as a condition of coverage."

The issue before us is one of law. The pertinent authorities are Kerner v. State Employees' Retirement System (1978), 72 Ill.2d 507, 382 N.E.2d 243, cert. denied (1979), 441 U.S. 923, 60 L.Ed.2d 397, 99 S.Ct. 2032, and Shanahan v. Policemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund (1976), 43 Ill. App.3d 543, 357 N.E.2d 582. Kerner involved section 14-199 of the Illinois Pension Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 108 1/2, par. 14-199) pertaining to State of Illinois employees. Shanahan involved section 5-227 of the Illinois Pension Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 108 1/2, par. 5-227) pertaining to the Policemen's Annuity Act. The differences between these two statutes ...


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