DiSanto Reintroduces Pension Forfeiture for Law Breakers

HARRISBURG—State Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) has reintroduced legislation ensuring public officials and employees who commit job-related felonies are stripped of their taxpayer-funded pensions.

This legislation, Senate Bill 113, closes the loophole used by unscrupulous public officials whereby they plead guilty to non-forfeiture crimes so they can keep a pension. This issue made headlines when the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) voted to restore the more than $245,000 annual public pension of admitted felon and former State Senator Robert Mellow.

“While this was an outrageous example, it is one of many in which public officials violate the public trust and go on to collect lifetime benefits from taxpayers,” DiSanto said. “This is a slap in the face to honest and hardworking citizens shouldering the burden of skyrocketing public pension costs.”

The legislation also ensures the Pennsylvania court system reports criminal convictions to state pension boards rather than leaving it up to the public pension systems to learn of pension forfeiture cases through agency websites and newspaper articles.

Last session, this proposal passed both the full Senate and the House Judiciary Committee unanimously, but did not receive final a final vote in the House. “We owe it to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania to ensure lawbreakers face this serious financial penalty for violating the public trust. I urge legislative leaders to promptly take up this commonsense proposal.”

CONTACT: Chuck Erdman 717-787-6801 cerdman@pasen.gov