Judge says Naperville police chief can collect pension

Naperville Chief of Police Robert Marshall talked to reporters after a bond hearing for Elzbieta Plackowska, 40 of Naperville for the murder of two children in her care. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Naperville Chief of Police Robert Marshall talked to reporters after a bond hearing for Elzbieta Plackowska, 40 of Naperville for the murder of two children in her care. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
A DuPage County Circuit Court judge ruled Friday that Naperville Police Chief Robert W. Marshall is entitled to collect the pension he received while serving on the police force prior to his return as chief, a pension and salary total of nearly $260,000.
 
Associate Judge Paul M. Fullerton sided with the Naperville Police Pension Board, whose members last year declared Marshall had not gone back onto active duty after retiring from the force and later returning as its chief.
 
Fullerton also said Marshall could collect his pension while contributing to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund as chief.
 
Marshall worked as Naperville’s assistant city manager after resigning from the police force and prior to being hired as chief. Fullerton’s decision means he will be able to collect his police pension of $104,109 while drawing his chief’s salary of $154,775.
 
City Legal Director Margo Ely on Friday confirmed Fullerton had “affirmed the pension board’s decision and ruled in Marshall’s favor” over the Illinois Department of Insurance, which had been represented by Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.
 
Ely declined to speak at length about Fullerton’s decision. “The judge’s opinion is very well-reasoned and sound, and consistent with the city’s position,” she said.
 
Maura Possley, Madigan’s press secretary, on Friday declined to say whether Fullerton’s opinion might be appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court. Possley would say only that Madigan and her lieutenants are “reviewing the court’s ruling.” 
 
Pension board members, in a 4-1 decision in January 2013, declared Marshall had not re-entered active service, and was entitled to collect his pension while working as chief.
 
Ryan Yantis, a spokesman for the department of insurance, later replied is was “the department’s position that Chief Marshall has re-entered active service for the purposes of the pension fund, and that he therefore may not continue to receive his police pension while simultaneously in active service as a member of the Naperville police.”
 
Insurance department officials contended Marshall re-entered active service upon becoming chief, making him ineligible to continue drawing an estimated $75,000 annually from the police pension fund for his prior service.
 
Marshall’s attorney, Tom Rajda, argued that in order for him to be re-entered into the fund, Marshall as chief would have to have been sworn in again as an officer, which he was not.
 
Marshall served 28 years with the police department prior to his retirement. He joined the force as a patrolman and in 1992 attained the rank of captain.
 
He resigned in 2005 to become assistant city manager, and served in that post until May 2012, when he was appointed police chief.
 
Marshall is working as chief without a contract.

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