Mowry v. State ex rel. Wyoming Retirement Bd

In Mowry v. State ex rel. Wyoming Retirement Bd., 866 P.2d 729 (Wyo. 1993), the Court held that severance pay did not fall within the definition of salary because "definitions suggest that 'severance pay' is primarily gratuitous and, although it may be intended to partially alleviate the loss of employment, it is not an attempt to equally compensate the employee for services rendered, losses suffered, or expenses incurred." Id. The Wyoming Retirement Act defines "salary" in pertinent part as "cash remuneration paid to a member in a calendar year." Wyo. Stat. Ann. 9-3-402(a)(xvi). The Court defined "remuneration" in Mowry v. State ex rel. Wyoming Retirement Bd: "Black's Law Dictionary defines remuneration as "reward; recompense; salary; compensation." Black's Law Dictionary at 1165 (5th ed. 1979). Each of the terms used to define "remuneration" are also defined in Black's as referring to payments made in exchange for something equivalent, such as services rendered. Id., at 1188, 1144, 1200, 256. Websters' Third New International Dictionary (1966) defines "remunerate" as: "1: to pay an equivalent for (as a service, loss or expense) 2: to pay an equivalent to (a person) for service, loss or expense," and defines "remunerating." Thus, the plain and ordinary meaning of remuneration clearly contemplates payments made in return for something equivalent." (Id. at 731.)