Not Again? Yup…
The effort to bump up Malloy ally and fellow education reformer Steven Adamowski’s state funded Teachers Retirement pension continues — and it continues Malloy’s strange notion of “shared sacrifice” – in which middle and working income families pay more than their fair share in taxes while the Malloy administration uses their governmental power to advance the monetary gain of certain individuals.
Readers will remember that Governor Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill included special language that retroactively gave Steven Adamowski an extra four years of retirement credit for the time he served as Superintendent of Schools in Hartford. Connecticut law requires participants in the Teachers Retirement System to be certified which Adamowski is not nor did he even try to become certified during his five years in Hartford.
When asked about the special provision, Governor Malloy responded that there was no “Adamowski provision.” The Democrats on the Education Committee then stripped the language from the bill.
Additional information has now becoming available about an ongoing attempt by the Malloy administration to get retirement credits for Adamowski’s present work as “Special Master” for the Windham Schools despite the fact that he doesn’t meet the criteria there as well.
In August 2011, Connecticut’s Department of Education appointed Adamowski to be the “Special Master” in their successful effort to take over the Windham Schools.
However, instead of signing a contract with Adamowski directly, the Department of Education persuaded SERC (The State Education Resource Center, a nonprofit agency primarily funded by the Connecticut State Department of Education http://ctserc.org) to sign the contract with Adamowski and the Education Department would reimburse SERC for all costs associated with the contract.
By choosing SERC, the Commissioner of Education was able to by-pass some of the state’s personnel hiring process.
A labor lawyer who is very knowledgeable with the laws and regulations governing the Teachers Retirement System recently reviewed the “Employment Agreement” between SERC and Adamowski. The lawyer reports that it appears the state’s intention was to make Adamowski a SERC employee, although the contract provides Adamowski with benefits that no other SERC employee receives and he is not listed as an employee on SERC’s employee directory.
In addition to his two-year $76,000 in benefits and $450,000 in salary, the contract between the Malloy administration, SERC and Adamowski includes contract language that reads “Dr. Adamowski will be eligible to continue membership in the Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement System.”
Of course, as we now know from the other attempt to boost Adamowski’s pension, in order to participate in the Connecticut Teachers Retirement System, the state funded pension program for retired teachers, employees must meet one of the criteria laid out in Connecticut General Statute Section 10-183b (26).
As of 2007, the list of who is allowed into the Teachers Retirement Fund was expanded to include “a member of the staff of the State Education Resource Center established pursuant to section 10-4q employed in a professional capacity while possessing a certificate or permit issued by the State Board of Education.”
Note that the language that says that any employee participating in the Teachers Retirement System must possess “a certificate or permit issued by the State Department of Education” remained in place.
As we know, Adamowski does not have a Connecticut education certificate. In addition, although the law does not define what a “permit” issued by the State Department of Education actually is, there is no indication that Adamowski was ever issued a “permit” to do anything in conjunction with Connecticut’s education system.
The lawyer reviewing the contract between SERC and Adamowski said that, based on their reading of the law, “it is highly unlikely” that Adamowski would be able to claim that his years as Windham Special Master should be added to his pension.
However, PAYMENTS ARE BEING MADE on Adamowski’s behalf to the Teachers Retirement Fund for his present work as “Special Master.”
The Malloy administration and Steven Adamowski’s various attempts to add years to his pension would have a significant benefit for Adamowski.
Not only would Adamowksi get a larger pension for each year he is part of the Teacher Retirement Fund, but under state law, for every two years of Connecticut service he may purchase one more year of his out-of-state work to add to his Connecticut years.
Taken together, this means that the Malloy Administration’s attempt to get him back into the Teacher’s Retirement Program for his two years as Special Master would increase his pension by about $13,500 a year.
If the Malloy administration can get the original Adamowski language back into the “Education Reform” bill or attach it to another bill, his time in Hartford and as Special Master would push his pension up by $40,500 a year.
All of this on top of the pension he will be getting for his ten years of in-state work during the 1970s and 80s and the four years he has out-of-state service he has already purchased.
A request I sent for an explanation about this issue from the State Department of Education has yet to be answered.