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Former Frankfort police chief gets pension refund

(MCT) — A former southwest suburban police chief will be refunded $23,709 he made in pension contributions in the last two years following a controversy over his eligibility for the police pension fund while serving as the village's assistant administrator.

Members of the Frankfort Police Pension Board approved Rob Piscia's request for the refund during a special meeting Thursday where three of the five trustees were present.

Pension Board President Tom Kiley said Piscia will be refunded all contributions he made toward his pension from Sept. 17, 2010, through Sept. 14, 2012.

"We have a printout from the village, based on payroll, showing all those contributions that were made and can be, and should be, refunded so that Rob can roll that over to another qualified investment," Kiley said.

Pension Board Secretary Venita Bukowinski said Piscia would not receive any interest on the contributions he is being refunded.

Piscia requested the refund after his decision to end his participation in the police pension fund as of September 2010, coinciding with the conclusion of his role as the village's police chief.

The Village Board appointed him assistant administrator in 2010. He began the transition into the new role in May of that year, but Piscia said his main responsibility was still to serve as police chief until a replacement was hired in September 2010.

Then, while serving in his new administrator role, Piscia continued to contribute to and to earn credible service toward his police pension.

In May, the Illinois Department of Insurance, which acts as an oversight agency for local police pension boards, issued an advisory opinion stating that Piscia should have ended his participation when a new police chief was hired. Some Frankfort police officers also expressed their concerns about the propriety of Piscia's activity in the fund in a letter submitted to the pension board in July.

At first, Piscia said he believed he still was eligible for participation in the fund because as assistant administrator, he kept his status as a sworn police officer and maintained police-related duties.

He planned to make his case during a pension board hearing in September, but shortly before the hearing date, Piscia informed the pension board of his plan to end his participation as of September 2010. The hearing was then canceled.

By stopping his participation in September 2010 instead of in September 2012, Piscia lost roughly $9,000 a year from his future police pension, the Tribune calculated. Without the two years of credit, the 48-year-old's possible future annual pension was knocked down from about $75,000 to $66,000. Piscia can start collecting at age 50.

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