Ex-officials to get benefits pending trial Arundel is seeking 25% reduction in pensions of 12

January 05, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge ordered yesterday that 12 former county officials receive full retirement benefits for the four to six months lawyers need to prepare for trial in a dispute over whether the county may trim their pensions.

In his two-page order, Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. wrote that in part he was granting the injunction the former officials requested because they are likely to prevail in court. He also said in the order that the potential harm to the plaintiffs if he denied the injunction outweighed the potential damage to the county if he granted it.

"That's good news, and I'm pleased. What else can I say," said Joseph Novotny, the former county auditor and one of the plaintiffs.

Mr. Novotny, 57, retired in 1994 after 29 years. He said his annual $56,000 pension would drop by $15,000 if the ordinance trimming the benefits was allowed to take effect.

Deputy County Attorney David Plymyer said he needs at least until April to prepare his case because he intends to interview roughly 40 witnesses before the trial.

The suit, filed Dec. 20, alleges that the county breached a contract in November when it trimmed benefits by 25 percent for those receiving payments under the 1989 pension plan for appointed and elected officials.

The plan allowed retirement at age 50 for those with five years of service, permitted younger workers to retire after 16 years and let participants count service with other government jurisdictions toward their years of service.

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