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Linnett v. Public Employees' Retirement System

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 10, 2013

JUDITH LINNETT, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM, Respondent-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 7, 2013

On appeal from the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System, Department of Treasury, Docket No. 1295034.

Bucceri & Pincus, attorneys for appellant (Gregory T. Syrek, of counsel and on the brief).

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Lisa A. Puglisi, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Christopher M. Tattory, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Before Judges St. John and Leone.

PER CURIAM

Petitioner Judith Linnett appeals from an order by the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS), a part of the Division of Pensions and Benefits (Division) within the Department of the Treasury. That order affirmed the denial of her request to reactivate and transfer her PERS account. We affirm.

I.

In 2005, petitioner began working as an adjunct lecturer at Hudson County Community College and Montclair State University. In 2006, she enrolled separately in PERS for each position, causing her to have multiple PERS accounts. In December 2006, she applied to purchase twelve months of "temporary/substitute" PERS service credit based on her earlier employment at the community college. In January 2007, she applied to purchase forty-four months of "former membership" PERS service credit based on her employment by the Hillside Board of Education from 1978 to 1981. She purchased those service credits by paying $1, 523.89 and $3, 189.16, respectively, after February 2007.

Meanwhile, on February 1, 2007, petitioner began a fulltime position as a counselor in the Union County vocational high school. Based on that position, she enrolled in the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF). She ceased working at the community college and the university, and stopped contributing to her PERS account.

In a letter dated February 25, 2010, the Division notified petitioner "of the expiration of your pension fund account with [PERS]." The letter showed that her last contribution had been March 9, 2007, and that her account expiration date had been March 9, 2009. The letter stated:

When you terminate employment, State law permits you to maintain inactive membership in the pension plan for a maximum of two years from the date of your last pension contribution. After two years your account expires and you lose the right to all membership benefits except for withdrawal of your contributions. Therefore, you should review the following options and take the ...

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