Board sets hearing on Edmonson retirement

The State Police Retirement System Board of Trustees scheduled a Sept. 4 meeting to hear from the lawyer who is investigating the situation that enhanced the pension of the head of the Louisiana State Police.

Irwin Felps, the board’s executive director, said Friday that the investigation into the circumstances and law surrounding the last minute amendment to Senate Bill 294, which was signed into law as Act 859, is nearing completion. Robert Klosner, a nationally recognized retirement attorney, then will prepare his analysis and recommendations to help with the research.

State Police Col. Mike Edmonson has said he would not accept the enhanced pension benefits granted as a result of the last-minute law change.

But the law that described a situation matching Edmonson’s was passed and the state may be legally required to pay benefits regardless of his wishes.

“Some members of the board have expressed concerns about the propriety of Act 859 and we have an obligation to make certain that we have the best information available for the board’s consideration so they can determine the most appropriate course of action,” Chairman Frank Besson said in a prepared statement. “It would be inappropriate and premature for the board to take a position on Act 859 until it receives its report from the attorneys retained to study the matter.”

The Edmonson retirement provision was added to an unrelated bill on June 2, the last day of the legislative session. No hearings had been held on the provision that affected only Edmonson and one other veteran trooper.

State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, has issued a statement saying he sponsored the change at the request of Edmonson’s staff.