The former director of the Spokane (Wash.) Employees Retirement System is suing the city, claiming he was fired unfairly.
In a lawsuit filed Oct. 4 in the Spokane Superior Court, Daniel M. Daniels claimed he was fired by then-Mayor Jim West in August 2004 "in retaliation" for refusing to roll over the retirement assets of Mr. West and two assistants into the city fund from another plan. Mr. West was ultimately seeking to base his retirement benefits on the $135,000 annual salary he received as mayor rather than the approximately $35,000 he received as a state legislator, said William Powell, Mr. Daniels' attorney.
Mr. Daniels denied several requests to transfer Mr. West's retirement assets to the $216 million Spokane system from the Public Employees Retirement System Plan 3, which is managed by the $70.3 billion Washington State Investment Board, Olympia, based on advice he received from the state retirement system and the city attorney that there was no portability between the plans, according to court documents.
Marlene Feist, a spokeswoman for the city of Spokane, said the suit is "confusing because it doesn't fit with our understanding of portability. PERS III ... does qualify for what's termed portability at the city of Spokane. That's a state rule."