Retirement Board of Stoneham v. Contributory Retirement Appeal BoardAnnotate this Case
Christine DeFelice, a part-time employee for the Stoneham school department, sought retroactive membership in the Stoneham retirement system based on a nine-week period during which she worked over thirty hours per week. The municipal retirement board granted DeFelice retroactive membership in the retirement system for the nine-week period but denied her membership for the subsequent time during which she remained a part-time employee. The Contributory Retirement Appeal Board reversed, concluding that the board was statutorily precluded from terminating the membership of individuals who had been granted membership in a retirement system and continued working for the same municipal employer. The superior court reversed. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) a municipal retirement board does not possess absolute discretion to terminate a part-time employee’s membership in a retirement system to which that board has granted the employee membership; and (2) a “separation from [an employee’s] service” under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 32, 3(1)(a)(i) does not occur when a part-time employee working two jobs for the same municipal employer ceases to work only one of those jobs.