JW Calls on Arizona AG to File Lawsuit to Stop Phoenix Police Chief from Receiving Illegal Pension Benefits
AUGUST 31, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it sent a letter on August 27, 2009 requesting that Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard file a lawsuit against the Phoenix Police Pension Board, its five members, and City of Phoenix Chief of Police Jack F. Harris to enjoin the illegal payment of pension benefits to Chief Harris. Judicial Watch informed Attorney General Goddard that if he fails to act on this request Judicial Watch will file a lawsuit on behalf of Arizona taxpayers and former and current City of Phoenix police officers to seek justice in the matter.
As Judicial Watch notes in its letter, Chief Harris retired from the City of Phoenix Police Department “on or about January 19, 2007,” but was subsequently rehired as “Public Safety Manager.” However, Chief Harris continued to maintain his former title and position as Chief of Police. In fact, Chief Harris is listed as “Public Safety Manager/Police Chief Jack Harris” on an organizational chart maintained by the Phoenix Police Department.
According to Arizona law, if a retired member of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System “subsequently becomes employed in the same position by the employer from which the member retired, the system shall not make pension payments to the retired member during the period of reemployment.” As Chief Harris continues to take pension payments contrary to law, Judicial Watch is asking the Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard to intervene.
Judicial Watch believes that “there is clear legal authority to seek to enjoin the payment of pension benefits to Chief Harris.”
“We expect public officials to follow the rules and we expect the Arizona Attorney General to enforce the law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The illegal payment of pension funds to Chief Harris is a waste of taxpayer funds and Attorney General Goddard should put a stop to it. Judicial Watch stands ready to act if the Attorney General fails to remedy the situation.”