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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 32 : Taxation and Finance

Chapter 007 : THE PUBLIC MONIES

Subchapter 007 : FORFEITURE OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT BENEFITS

(Cite as: 32 V.S.A. § 623)
  • § 623. Forfeiture of public employee retirement benefits

    (a) Honorable public service is a condition precedent to receiving retirement benefits. Each time a member is hired, reassigned, promoted, demoted, enters into a new collective bargaining contract, or otherwise changes his or her employment relationship or status, he or she shall be deemed to consent and agree to be subject to the provisions of this subchapter, including to this condition precedent.

    (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any member who is convicted of any crime related to public office shall be considered to have served dishonorably, and his or her retirement benefits may be subject to forfeiture.

    (c) If a member is convicted of a crime related to public office, the Attorney General or State's Attorney shall file an action in the Civil Division of the Superior Court to forfeit the member's retirement benefits in whole or in part.

    (d) A copy of the complaint shall be served on the member and any known spouse, dependent, or designated beneficiary of the member.

    (e) Hearings under this subchapter shall be conducted by the Court without a jury, and the Attorney General or State's Attorney shall have the burden of proof.

    (f) The Court shall grant the petition if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that:

    (1) the person is a member as defined in this subchapter; and

    (2) the person was convicted of a crime related to public office.

    (g) If the Court grants the petition, it shall then determine the degree, if any, to which the member's retirement benefits shall be forfeited. In making the determination, the Court shall consider and make findings on the following factors:

    (1) the severity of the crime related to public office for which the member has been convicted;

    (2) the amount of monetary loss suffered by the State, a county, a municipality, or by any other person as a result of the crime related to public office;

    (3) the degree of public trust reposed in the member; and

    (4) any other factors as, in the judgment of the Court, justice may require.

    (h) If the Court determines that a member's retirement benefits should be forfeited to any degree, the maximum value of the benefits ordered forfeited shall not be greater than 10 times the amount of monetary loss suffered by the State, a county, a municipality, or by any other person as a result of the crime related to public office.

    (i) If the Court determines that a member's retirement benefits should be forfeited to any degree, it may order that some or all of the retirement benefits be paid to any innocent spouse, dependent, or beneficiary as justice may require. In determining whether to make an award under this section, the Court may consider:

    (1) the degree of knowledge, if any, possessed by the member's spouse, dependent, or designated beneficiary in connection with the offense;

    (2) the financial needs and resources of the member's spouse, dependent, or designated beneficiary; and

    (3) any other factors as, in the judgment of the Court, justice may require.

    (j) If the Court determines that a member's retirement benefits should not be forfeited to any degree, it shall order that retirement benefits be made to the member. (Added 2013, No. 2, § 1.)