Snyder halts pensions for felonious officials

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing – Public employees convicted of felonies “that breach public trust” have to give up their retirement benefits under a legislation Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Wednesday.

Snyder’s signature follows a series of high-profile corruption scandals involving former Detroit Public Schools officials and the Republican governor says the law will make sure public benefits don’t go to the wrong people.

“Protecting the integrity of retirement contributions employers make is critically important, and this bill helps ensure employer contributions are not allocated to public employees who have been convicted of crimes that break public trust,” Snyder said in a statement.

Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, sponsored the legislation, which would force former public employees to give up their retirement benefits and interest if they’re convicted of a felony “arising form breaching public trust during their service,” according Snyder’s office.

The bill changes the current law to make sure that forfeiture is mandatory. It comes as Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is seeking to nab the pensions of 13 former Detroit Public School officials convicted in a $2.7 million kickback scheme.

Schuette has initiated civil forfeiture actions that seek to forfeit all state or DPS contributions from the time the bribery began until the time of the termination or retirement of the employee.

mgerstein@detroitnews.com

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