OTTOSEN BRITZ's public pension fund practice continues to grow in response to the increasing complexity of managing pension funds, as well as the confrontational nature of many applications for disability pension benefits. We advise our pension fund clients on all facets of their responsibilities, from preparation of rules to assistance with complicated disability hearings. As issues arise in the administration of pension benefits, we have guided our clients in matters such as proper survivor benefits, administration of QILDROs, and correction of improper benefit payments. We also counsel public pension boards in the lawful investment of pension funds, particularly as to their fiduciary duties and the potential liabilities of investment decisions. In addition to advising established pension funds, our attorneys have assisted several clients in initiating new firefighter or police pension funds.
Our significant involvement in the representation of public safety organizations through our work with fire protection districts, municipal fire and police departments, and fire and police commissions enhances our ability to advise public pension fund clients. We are well-versed on the issues confronting public safety agencies and their employees, and understand their ramifications for pension benefits. Our background in municipal finance enables us to guide our public pension clients in the increasingly difficult issues associated with the proper funding of pension funds through the tax levy process.
New Legal Issues
Our attorneys have been involved in a myriad of new legal issues confronting public pension funds, including the interpretation of creditable service combination and enhanced widow’s benefits, as well as qualification for health insurance coverage pursuant to the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act. Our attorneys have successfully litigated several psychological disability pension matters involving firefighters resulting in case law that guides pension boards in this difficult area.
We actively track proposed legislation that could potentially affect our public pension fund clients and have been involved in drafting proposed language for positive legislative change. We are often invited to speak at various conferences and to submit articles to public sector publications on issues affecting public pension funds.
As more pension board decisions are appealed through the administrative process, our attorneys assist public pension fund clients in navigating the circuit and appellate courts. Beginning with preparing for hearingthrough the decision-making stage, our attorneys are cognizant of the factthat the besthearing processeswithstand thetest of litigation. We assist our pensionboards withthoroughly gathering relevant evidence, thoughtfully and fairly conducting the hearing, and preparing a well-reasoned written decision. This approach helps to insure that the decisions of our pension board clients are more likely to be upheld if appealed.