Board investigates whether to give Torrence pension - WSMV News 4

Board investigates whether to give Torrence pension

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The Metro's benefits board decided Tuesday morning to investigate whether former Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence should collect pension benefits.

Torrence resigned last month after a Channel 4 I-team investigation showed he only worked three days a week, hired his sons for jobs in his office, and used a county car for personal errands.

However, after resigning, he was still eligible for a yearly pension of almost $80,000.

The board voted to put off approving Torrence's pension until they determine if he should receive his full pension based on his work habits.

Metro Councilman Charlie Tygard said Tuesday that to reward Torrence a full pension is a "slap in the face to taxpayers."

It's uncharted territory for the board.

To receive a pension, Metro employees must work at least 20 hours per week. And Torrence's own work hours show he sometimes didn't come close to working 20 hours.

But, Torrence is also an elected official, and there's nothing that states an official has to work a certain number of hours.

"The individual we are considering is not a standard employee, but an elected official," said Ann Butterworth, benefit board member.

The board voted to defer to their pension committee to investigate Torrence's work hours. But Torrence's attorney says the law is clear - David Torrence worked for four decades as the clerk, he was not removed from office and he should receive his pension.

"I would ask the board to follow the law, and not to follow emotions. While this is an emotional issue, people have been angry over this, I believe the law is in my client's favor," attorney Jim Todd said.

It's important to note that even if someone is fired from Metro, they can still receive a pension. Because Torrence resigned, he may still get his full pension. If he had been ousted from office, the district attorney said it may have impacted his pension.

The matter now goes to the pension committee, which will make a recommendation to the board members, who will then have the final say.

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