Is Police Officer Entitled to Interest Payments on Refunded Contributions to Pension Fund ?
In Bassett v. Pekin Police Pension Board, a police officer was convicted of a felony that was related to his service as a police officer.
Officer Bassett was found ineligible to receive pension benefits but was found to be entitled to a refund of his contributions to the pension fund.
The police pension board authorized a refund after subtracting more than $ 40,000 that Bassett had received in benefits.
However, the police pension board found that Bassett was not entitled to be paid interest on his refunded contributions to the pension fund.
Bassett filed a complaint for administrative review of the police pension board's decision and argued that he was entitled to a refund of his contributions to the pension fund without any offsets.
Bassett also argued that he was entitled to interest on the refunded contributions to the pension fund.
The circuit court held that Bassett was entitled to a full refund of his pension fund contributions but denied his request for interest.
The appellate court affirmed the circuit court's judgement but held that the Pension Code does not provide for a refund with interest in the absence of an agreement of the parties or a statute. Basset, 362 Ill. App. 3d at 240.
The Basset court also held that section 2 of the Interest Act is not the applicable statutory provision in Bassett's case because that section provides that interest becomes due on any bond, bill, promissory note, or other instrument of writing and the Pension Code does not qualify as a bond, bill, promissory note or other instrument of writing. Basset, 362 Ill. App. 3d at 241-42.
The Bassett court reasoned, under the principle of ejusdem generis, that the phrase "other instrument of writing" in section 2 of the Interest Act should be considered to refer only to a writing that is similar to a bond, bill or promissory note. Basset, 362 Ill. App. 3d at 242.
The Bassett court also held that, because statutes are to be strictly construed, it would be wrong to treat the Pension Code as an "other instrument of writing." Basset 362 Ill. App. 3d at 242.