Connecticut Seal

Senate Bill No. 1138

Public Act No. 05-284

AN ACT CONCERNING DISABILITY RETIREMENT BENEFITS FOR CORRECTION OFFICERS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005) (a) Whenever a correction officer who is a member of a state employee organization and a member of the state employees retirement system, as a result of a special hazard inherent in the duties of a correction officer, becomes (1) permanently disabled or permanently unable to render service as a correction officer, and (2) permanently unable to engage in other suitable, comparable employment, the state employee organization representing such member may, but is not required to, petition the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management on behalf of such member for a designation of extraordinary circumstances for the purpose of calculating such member's disability retirement income.

(b) If such petition is granted by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or a designee, or as a result of an arbitration conducted pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the Department of Correction shall (1) elevate such correction officer to the highest pay grade in the member's bargaining unit, effective not later than the member's last day of active state service, and (2) prepare an application for disability retirement benefits under the state employees retirement system that reflects the salary of such highest pay grade. The Retirement Commission shall use the salary of such highest pay grade in determining such member's disability retirement income in accordance with the provisions of chapter 66 of the general statutes.

(c) (1) If such petition is denied by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or a designee, the state employee organization representing such member may initiate arbitration by filing with the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration the sole issue of whether such member is entitled to a designation of extraordinary circumstances for the purpose of calculating such member's disability retirement income. A copy of the filing shall be served on the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. Not later than seven days after such copy has been served, the parties shall jointly select an arbitrator. The person selected shall have substantial, current experience as an impartial arbitrator of labor-management disputes. Persons who serve partisan interests as advocates or consultants for labor or management in labor-management relations or who are associated with or are members of a firm that performs such advocate or consultant work may not be selected. If the parties fail to agree on an arbitrator within the seven-day period, the selection shall be made using the procedures under the voluntary labor arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association.

(2) In any arbitration proceeding initiated under this section, the sole issue before the arbitrator shall be whether such member is entitled to a designation of extraordinary circumstances for purposes of calculating such member's disability retirement income. The arbitrator's decision shall be final and binding on all parties and shall not be subject to appeal under any provision of the general statutes or under any collectively bargained agreement.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the amount of compensation due any member of a correctional institution pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of section 5-142 of the general statutes, or chapter 568 of the general statutes.

Approved July 13, 2005