Public Law Conference focuses on public pension policies

Issue April 2014

The Massachusetts Bar Association's (MBA) Public Law Section Council hosted its annual conference Friday, Feb. 28, at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston.

The conference focused on practice issues and challenges involving public pension policies. Panelists included attorneys from the private and public sectors who discussed, in detail, both the complicated landscape of public employee pension programs and the consequences for employee terminations, resignations, prosecutions and disciplinary actions, including when a criminal conviction will cost your client their pension, and when it will cost them every dollar they put toward their pension.

"The program panelists covered an interesting variety of issues from the statutory underpinnings of myriad Massachusetts pensions systems to some of the equitable concerns raised by pension forfeitures, which some may view as excessive punishment for misconduct directly or indirectly related to an employee's public duties," said Conference Co-Chair Brian O'Donnell. A conference attendee added, "The conference had a great combination of speakers representing a wide range of pension law."

The day ended with former Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Gregory W. Sullivan delivering the keynote address. Sullivan is now the research director of the Centers for Better Government and Economic Opportunity at the Pioneer Institute. Throughout his speech, Sullivan explored ways state and federal government could be more efficient to prevent waste, fraud and abuse.