Former PA lawmaker, who served time for corruption, wins appeal to have $20,000/month pension restored
PITTSBURGH — Robert Mellow, the former Democratic State Senator who served prison time for corruption, won his appeal to have his $20,000 per month pension restored, according to reports by the Associated Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System confirmed Wednesday that Mellow’s monthly compensation with be $20,510.29 after the board voted 6-5 to restore his pension.
Mellow initially lost the pension in May 2012, when he pleaded guilty to using taxpayer-funded staff to work on his political campaigns. Mellow, who served for 40 years, was entitled to $246,000 per year.
The Scranton-area legislator’s lawyers said his crime did not compare to state crimes listed under the pension forfeiture law.
“The board carefully reviewed the record of this appeal, with the majority accepting the hearing examiner’s recommendation that the board overturn the forfeiture determination,” the spokesperson’s statement said. “The board struggled with this decision, as evidenced by the split nature of the vote, including the filing of dissenting opinions, which does not happen often.
“The crux of the issue centered around whether the federal crime of conspiracy, to which the member pled, is substantially similar to the state crime enumerated in Act 140 (Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act of 1978).”