Ringel-Williams v. W.V. Consol. Pub. Retirement Bd.

Petitioner has been employed by the Raleigh County Board of Education as a physical therapist since 1987. Her initial “Teacher’s Probationary Contract of Employment” provided that she would be paid an annual salary “for an annual employment term of 120 days.” In 1989, petitioner executed a “Continuing Contract of Employment,” which likewise provided that she was to be employed “for an employment term of 120 days.” She requested enrollment in the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). Contributions on petitioner’s behalf were made to TRS continuously from 1987 through 1991, when she enrolled in the newly-created Teachers’ Defined Contribution System and froze her TRS contributions. In 1999, she transferred her TRS funds and service credit into TDC. In 2008, petitioner transferred back to the TRS. The Board ascertained that petitioner was ineligible to participate in either plan because she was only working 120 days a year and indicated that the money contributed would be returned to her and her employer. Petitioner testified that she believed that those working less than 200 days were not ineligible, but would merely receive fractional service credit for the year. The hearing examiner determined that West Virginia Code 18-7A-3 requires a 200-day contract before one may participate in TRS, but that there was no such 200-day requirement to participate in TDC. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed, stating that it was “sympathetic," but could not confer statutory eligibility where none exists. View "Ringel-Williams v. W.V. Consol. Pub. Retirement Bd." on Justia Law