Facts: After retiring from the Bellevue Fire Department, petitioner David McAllister received, in addition to pension payments, excess payments reflecting the difference between the benefits McAllister received pursuant to the pension scheme enacted by Washington Revised Code §41.18 and the benefits McAllister would have received if had retired subsequent to the enacton of Washington Revised Code §41.26, which established a new scheme. The city of Bellevue subsequently discovered that McAllister had been overpaid insofar as his contribution had been capped at a percentage of the salary earned by a battalion chief, as provided for by §41.18, while his benefits had been calculated as a percentage of the salary he actually earned at the higher rank of chief, as provided for by §41.26. As a result, the city reduced McAllister’s payment. This prompted McAllister to file suit against the city in the Superior Court for King County, asserting that §41.26 rather than §41.18 should be relied upon in calculating his benefits. The superior court affirmed the decision of the Bellevue Firemen’s Pension Board. Upon appeal, the Washington Court of Appeals also affirmed the board’s decision. McAllister appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Does §41.18 or §41.26 govern the calculation of McAllister’s benefits?
Conclusion: Justice Stephens’ opinion for a unanimous Court affirmed the Bellevue Firemen’s Pension Board’s decision to reduce McAllister’s benefits, holding that McAllister could not blend the most favorable provisions of §41.18 and §41.26 and that as his contribution had been based upon §41.18′s salary definition, his benefits must also be calculated according to this formula.
Petitioner: David and Ken McAllister
Respondent: City of Bellevue Firemen’s Pension Board
Argument: Thursday, June 11, 2009 9:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Prevailing Party: City of Bellevue Firemen’s Pension Board (Respondent)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.