Scranton's double pension recipients appeal ruling that cut benefits
Attorneys for Scranton’s double pension recipients appealed the nonuniform pension board’s decision to strip the retirees of half their monthly benefits.
The appeal, filed last week in Lackawanna County Court, claims attorneys Thomas Helbig and Richard Fine, the hearing examiners who recommended the cuts, did not have sufficient evidence to support their decision. The retirees also claim their due process rights were violated by the legal mechanism the board utilized in addressing the dispute.
Helbig and Fine, who were specially appointed to hear the cases, determined the retirement incentive former Mayor Chris Doherty offered to employees who retired by Dec. 31, 2002, was never properly authorized. The offer was later deemed to retroactively apply to certain employees who retired in 2007.
Helbig and Fine agreed city officials offered to increase benefits. The problem is neither the union contract nor subsequent ordinances city council enacted spelled out the amount of the increases, they said. The pension board also never voted to enact them.