EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 31, 2014

State strips Lantigua of $17K pension

LAWRENCE – A day after a city board approved former Mayor William Lantigua’s $17,338 pension - a state board took his retirement pay away because he collected a local and state salary in 2010.

The state’s Public Employment Retirement Administration Commission revoked Lantigua’s pension, stating he is not entitled to a retirement allowance under state law.

In January 2010, Lantigua was sworn into office as Lawrence mayor. For seven years prior, Lantigua was state representative in the 16th Essex District.

However, from Jan. 4, 2010 to Feb. 6, 2010, Lantigua refused to step down as state representative, drawing both municipal and state salaries.

State pension reform, which kicked in Jan. 1, 2010, prevents Lantigua from combining his 11 years of municipal and state service because he drew two salaries ­— known as double-dipping.

“Furthermore, to be eligible to retire under this provision, Mr. Lantigua needs to be vested in at least one system and needs to meet minimum age requirement. While Mr. Lantigua does meet the age requirement, he was not vested in the State Retirement System nor was he vested in the Lawrence Retirement System,” wrote Joseph Connarton, executive director of the Public Employment Retirement Administration Commission in a May 29 letter to Diane Cockroft, administrator of the Lawrence Retirement Board.

“He doesn’t qualify for a pension at this point in time,” Connarton said during a telephone interview yesterday.

Municipal and state employees seeking pensions must be over age 55 with 10 years of accumulated service.

Lantigua, 59, with 11 years of combined service, filed for his $17,338 state pension, which was approved Wednesday morning by the Lawrence Retirement Board.

After local approval, the state board then reviews the calculations and decisions of 105 public retirement boards in the state, Connarton said.

Lantigua can appeal the state retirement board’s decision, but it was unclear yesterday if he planned to do so.

After four years as Lawrence mayor, Lantigua was defeated by new Mayor Daniel Rivera in November.

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