State senator files suit to stop Edmonson retirement boost

Col. Mike Edmonson (FOX 8 photo)
Col. Mike Edmonson (FOX 8 photo)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - The State Police Retirement System Board wrestled with one big question Thursday: whether to file suit to stop the law that would give Col. Mike Edmonson a huge retirement boost, or wait for another outcome - like a legislative move to block it next year.

The law, passed in the final moments of this year's legislative session, aimed to give Edmonson and another state trooper a huge boost in retirement. For Edmonson, it would mean at least an extra $30,000 a year in public retirement.

Ultimately, board members decided to let someone else sue them, and then choose not to defend it.

"I don't want to wait until next session to have that happen, so I filed a lawsuit. I took them up on their invitation and sued them," said Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge.

Claitor, who attended the board meeting, filed the suit as a state taxpayer rather than a lawmaker late Thursday afternoon. A judge then signed a temporary restraining order against the so-called "Edmonson Act."

Claitor acknowledged voting for the bill, but he said he was one of many lawmakers who didn't quite know what they were signing. Claitor and several others have described the manner in which the bill was handled as unconstitutional.

"Last day of the session, we have conference reports - three house members, three senate members, and you depend and count on those members to tell you what's in there, clearly," he said.

State Treasurer John Kennedy, who also serves on the retirement board, has strongly opposed the law. Kennedy also volunteered to file suit as a taxpayer against the board, if necessary.

"You had somebody with political clout put all four feet and their snout into the public trough, and it was wrong, and it was an insult to taxpayers and it was an insult to every trooper who gets up every morning and puts on a uniform and puts his or her life at risk," Kennedy said.

During the board meeting, a state trooper read a statement from Col. Edmonson, who did not attend.

In the statement, Edmonson again vowed that he wouldn't accept the retirement boost.

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