All Content

Posted by: Brittany Sims on Dec 30, 2014

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

C. David Briley and Susan High-McAuley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, C. Eddie Shoffner.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Joseph F. Whalen, Acting Solicitor General; and Mary Ellen Knack, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.

Judge(s): BENNETT

An individual employed by Claiborne County as Director of Schools was terminated over two years earlier than the employment term set forth in the parties’ contract. The county and the individual entered into another contract (“modified contract”) whereby the individual agreed to work as Safety Coordinator for five months and be compensated in an amount equal to the amount he would have been paid had the prior contract not been terminated. This resulted in a salary increase of nearly $40,000 per month for each of the five months the individual was employed as Safety Coordinator. The modified contract provided that the employee would be paid whether he performed any work or not, and the employee agreed to waive and release any claims he might have against the county. When the employee applied for retirement benefits, the agency in charge of calculating the amount of benefits did not treat the nearly $40,000 increase in compensation as “earnable compensation” because the additional compensation was not for “services rendered,” as required by the statute. The employee contested this decision, and the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) ruled in favor of the agency, granting the agency’s motion for summary judgment. The employee filed a petition for judicial review, and the trial court affirmed the ALJ’s decision. The employee appeals the trial court’s judgment to this Court, and we affirm.