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A Better Partnership
August 15, 2013

COA holds that change in civil service employees' pension plan was unconstitutional

In Michigan Coalition of State Employee Unions v Michigan, the Court of Appeals held that legislation which made changes to the State Employees' Retirement Act was unconstitutional because it the changes were made without the authorization of the State Civil Service Commission.  Article 11, Section 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, gives the State Civil Service Commission plenary authority to fix rates of compensation for state employees, and prohibits the legislature from reducing compensation rates below those authorized by the Commission.  The legislation at issue had reduced the retirement benefits available to state employees without the Commission's authorization.  The court reasoned that the legislation is unconstitutional because retirement benefits are a type of compensation, and therefore the legislature could not alter those benefits without the Commission's authorization.

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