Walker to give back excess pension payments from town of New Canaan
Former First Selectman Jeb Walker (R) announced that he will repay the excess pension money he received from the town since December 2011, according to a letter he sent to town officials.
Walker has requested to be paid the non-vested rate of $373 per month into a town account, "until the entire $5,140 overpaid to me during the period December 2011 through August 2012 is recouped," he stated.
When all the money has been recouped, he asks to have the correct rate of $373 resume.
Walker said he was unaware that the pension should have vested after five years.
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"Frankly I didn't pay any attention to the pension plan as it affected me," he said in an interview. "I was surprised to be getting a pension at all."
Walker also said that he did not discuss the terms of the pension with anyone before he left. He said he received forms which listed his pension at $944 per month, he filled them out and submitted them to the town.
"There was no conversation. Nobody seems to understand, I walked in and signed the papers and walked out. When [First Selectman Rob] Mallozzi was sworn in, I went out the back door."
Walker said that when the issue of the pension came up, he investigated it himself and found that there was an error.
"After it became an issue, I dug into it and said, `You're right,'" he said.
Some are questioning why he has decided to return the money in monthly installments as opposed to all at once.
"I just chose to do that," he said. "I think that's a very straightforward way to pay that back. It's my money. If the town wants me to do it differently, I'll do it that way."
He said that his main concern now is that the human resources and finance employees aren't blamed for the mistake, as they were acting under the guidance they were given, adding that such guidance would not have come from any particular person, and that the move to change from a five-year vesting period to a four-year vesting period had begun before he was set to retire.
Repayment is set to begin on Sept. 1.