|Chief Bennett Forced Out by
December 10, 2004
An adverse interpretation of Government Code Section 21221 has apparently forced the termination of Chief Charles Bennett effective the end of 2004. Bennett retired effective July 8, 2003 and started working again as a retiree and Acting Police Chief on July 9, 2003, after Joe Samuels left pending a formal resignation on August 25, 2003.
The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) allows retirees to work only 960 hours each calendar year after retirement, which is approximately equivalent to half a working year. Bennett used his allowable 960 hours during the last half of calendar year 2003 and again during the first half of calendar year 2004. After petition by the City Council, CalERS allowed Bennett and additional 960 hours in 2004, carrying him through the end of 2004.
It was assumed that Bennett would be automatically allowed by Government Code Section 21221(f) another 960 hours for calendar year 2005, carrying him through mid-1005 and allowing time to recruit a permanent chief. Apparently, CalPERS opined otherwise, effective forcing Bennett out.
A press release announcing the appointment of Captain Terry Hudson as Interim Police Chief is attached, and the West County Times story follows, as does the full text of Government Code Section 212221.
Richmond Police Capt. Terry Hudson will take over as interim police chief while officials conduct a nationwide search for a permanent top cop, city officials announced Thursday.
Interim City Manager Phil Batchelor named Hudson, a 29-year department veteran, as acting chief after the state retirement board declined to extend a work waiver for interim Chief Charles Bennett, who officially retired but remained as chief since former Chief Joseph Samuels left in September 2003.
Hudson's appointment will allow Bill Lindsay, who will takeover as city manager Feb. 14, to hire a permanent chief.
With longstanding vacancies in many executive posts, including police, fire, human resources and finance, Lindsay will have the opportunity to fill multiple key spots with his own hires.
Bennett, a strong voice for community policing, has enjoyed support of the City Council and community.
"Chief Bennett displayed talent and professional dedication of the highest order," Batchelor said. "The Police Department and all of Richmond's citizens have been well served."
Hudson will take the helm of the 225-employee department Jan. 1. He joined as police officer in 1975.
Batchelor described Hudson as "an experienced, reliable and proven law enforcement administrator."
In a prepared statement, Hudson said the department is "a second family" to him and he plans to support community policing.
"There's simply no substitute for it," Hudson said. "We will continue to keep the avenues of communication open between all of our officers and the people we serve. It works."
Bennett, who joined the police force in 1980, said he would be "leaving his heart in the city of Richmond."
21220. (a) A person who has been retired under this system, for
service or for disability, may not be employed in any capacity
thereafter by the state, the university, a school employer, or a
contracting agency, unless the employment qualifies for service
credit in the University of California Retirement System or the State
Teachers' Retirement Plan, unless he or she has first been
reinstated from retirement pursuant to this chapter, or unless the
employment, without reinstatement, is authorized by this article. A
retired person whose employment without reinstatement is authorized
by this article shall acquire no service credit or retirement rights
under this part with respect to the employment.
(b) Any retired member employed in violation of this article
(1) Reimburse this system for any retirement allowance received
during the period or periods of employment that are in violation of
(2) Pay to this system an amount of money equal to the employee
contributions that would otherwise have been paid during the period
or periods of unlawful employment, plus interest thereon.
(3) Contribute toward reimbursement of this system for
administrative expenses incurred in responding to this situation, to
the extent the member is determined by the executive officer to be at
(c) Any public employer that employs a retired member in violation
of this article shall:
(1) Pay to this system an amount of money equal to employer
contributions that would otherwise have been paid for the period or
periods of time that the member is employed in violation of this
article, plus interest thereon.
(2) Contribute toward reimbursement of this system for
administrative expenses incurred in responding to this situation, to
the extent the employer is determined by the executive officer of
this system to be at fault.
21220.5. A retired person who has not attained the normal
retirement age shall have a bona fide separation in service to the
extent required by the Internal Revenue Code, and the regulations
promulgated thereunder, before working after retirement pursuant to
this article. The board shall establish, by regulation, the criteria
under which a bona fide separation is satisfied.
21221. A retired person may serve without reinstatement from
retirement or loss or interruption of benefits provided by this
system, as follows:
(a) As a member of any board, commission, or advisory committee,
upon appointment by the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, the
President pro Tempore of the Senate, director of a state department,
or the governing board of the contracting agency. However, the
appointment shall not be deemed employment within the meaning of
Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200) and Division 4.5
(commencing with Section 6100) of the Labor Code, and shall not
provide a basis for the payment of workers' compensation to a retired
state employee or to his or her dependents.
(b) As a school crossing guard.
(c) As a juror or election officer.
(d) As an elective officer on and after September 15, 1961.
However, all rights and immunities which may have accrued under
Section 21229 as it read prior to that section's repeal during the
1969 Regular Session of the Legislature are hereby preserved.
(e) As an appointive member of the governing body of a contracting
agency. However, the compensation for that office shall not exceed
one hundred dollars ($100) per month.
(f) Upon appointment by the Legislature, or either house, or a
legislative committee to a position deemed by the appointing power to
be temporary in nature.
(g) Upon employment by a contracting agency to a position found by
the governing body, by resolution, to be available because of a
leave of absence granted to a person on payroll status for a period
not to exceed one year and found by the governing body to require
specialized skills. The temporary employment shall be terminated at
the end of the leave of absence. Appointments under this section
shall be reported to the board and shall be accompanied by the
resolution adopted by the governing body.
(h) Upon appointment by the governing body of a contracting agency
to a position deemed by the governing body to be of a limited
duration and requiring specialized skills or during an emergency to
prevent stoppage of public business. These appointments, in addition
to any made pursuant to Section 21224, shall not exceed a total for
all employers of 960-hours in any calendar year. When an appointment
is expected to, or will, exceed 960-hours in any calendar year, the
governing body shall request approval from the board to extend the
temporary employment. The governing body shall present a resolution
to the board requesting action to allow or disallow the employment
extension. The resolution shall be presented prior to the expiration
of the 960-hour maximum for the calendar year. The appointment
shall continue until notification of the board's decision is received
by the governing body. The appointment shall be deemed approved if
the board fails to take action within 60 days of receiving the
request. Appointments under this subdivision may not exceed a total
of one year.
(i) Upon appointment by the Administrative Director of the Courts
to the position of Court Security Coordinator, a position deemed
temporary in nature and requiring the specialized skills and
experience of a retired professional peace officer.