Retirement Plan Tiers In California

In Aquilino v. Marin County Employees' Retirement Assn (1998), 60 Cal. App. 4th 1509, the plaintiffs "were originally employed prior to the establishment of tiers in Marin County, were members of the retirement plan (MCERA), left employment, withdrew their accumulated retirement contributions, were subsequently reemployed after the establishment of the tiers, redeposited their retirement contributions pursuant to section 31652, subdivision (a) and requested readmission to the more favorable retirement tier." (Id. at p. 1512, fn. omitted; see also 31642.) In Aquilino, the parties disputed whether those redepositing employees were entitled to reenter tier I or were required to remain in tier II. (Aquilino, supra, at p. 1514.) Confronted with assessing how the Aquilino plaintiffs' " 'redeposit rights' " were impacted by section 31483's provisions authorizing counties to establish retirement plan tiers, the appellate court concluded "such redepositing employees must be returned to the more favorable tier of the Marin County plan . . . ." (Aquilino, supra, at pp. 1511-1512.) In sum, in Aquilino, supra, 60 Cal. App. 4th 1509, the appellate court concluded the Legislature had provided by statute ( 31642, 31652) that former employees of a county who had tier I status in such county's retirement system must be placed in tier I status when they redeposit certain sums upon their reentry into employment with that same county. (Aquilino, supra, at pp. 1511-1512, 1521-1522.) However, although the Legislature might properly provide that former employees of reciprocal counties who had enjoyed tier I status under those counties' retirement systems and who had left their contributions in such systems are similarly entitled to placement in tier I status in the retirement system of another county when newly hired by such other county, the Legislature has not chosen to do so. (Cf. Aquilino, supra, at p. 1518.)