Former Belleair Beach Officer Seeks Additional Pension Benefit
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BEACH - The City Council heard a plea last Wednesday at a special meeting from a former city police officer who is seeking added pension compensation.
Other than a housekeeping ordinance that officially terminated the police department's retirement plan that was the only matter taken up of the four items listed originally on the agenda.
The pension appeal of Luann Ream had nothing to do with the official repealing of the police retirement plan.
Considering a contract for City Manager Nancy McCollum and another item making the city clerk a charter officer were postponed because McCollum was out of town and two council members were absent.
Rob Baldwin and Mitch Krack couldn't make the 4:30 p.m. meeting because they were out of town.
The Ream matter boiled down to the retired officer seeking more "lump sum" money and the council discussed this issue at length.
Ream was paid a lump sum of $145,842.88 in accordance with the retirement plan and it was emphasized that the city had met all of its obligations.
What Ream said she wanted is an additional $34,000 so that the total amount then equals what she was expecting in terms of a monthly income derived from the total amount.
But the city and plan had met all of its obligations, according to city officials and the administrator of the plan.
Ream said she had an agreement that was made with Bill Atteberry, a former mayor, who was been off the scene for about five years. She presented no documentation at last week's meeting supporting that claim.
She said the agreement with Atteberry, who was the mayor at the time, guaranteed her a certain income for life, plus 10 years.
She said that $34,000 added to what she has already received would equal the amount necessary to meet her expectations.
The city's position is that it will look at the supposed agreement Ream made with Atteberry, but that it had met all its obligations.
Another factor city officials are taking into consideration is that modifying a settlement that, as far as the city is concerned, is established and totally legal could make a precedent and lead to others making similar appeals.
When the full council is present the McCollum contract will be taken up.
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