Share This Page

Ex-Washington County judge takes big retirement payout

| Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A former Washington County judge under investigation by the state Attorney General's Office elected to take a lump sum payment and first payment of his monthly retirement benefit six weeks after abruptly resigning from the bench.

The Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System confirmed Wednesday that Paul Pozonsky, 57, who served as a Common Pleas judge for 14 years, opted to take the $200,851 lump-sum withdrawal and his first $7,956 monthly payment. The state paid both to him on Aug. 10.

Pozonsky resigned June 29 after the district attorney's office questioned his order to destroy evidence in 17 criminal cases. A month before he quit, county President Judge Debbie O‘Dell Seneca removed him from hearing criminal cases.

Pozonsky's attorney, Robert Del Greco, declined to comment Wednesday but confirmed the investigation to the Tribune-Review in July. A spokesman for Attorney General Linda Kelly said the office would not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

“The lump sum payment, also referred to as an Option 4 Withdrawal, is a portion of the member's contributions plus 4 percent statutory interest compounded annually, which the member elected to receive at retirement,” Pamela Hile, deputy open records officer for the State Employees Retirement System, wrote in response to emailed questions. “Judge Pozonsky's first monthly annuity payment was retroactive to his date of retirement.”

He earned $169,541 annually.

The focus of the investigation is unclear but at least three assistant district attorneys appeared before the state grand jury in July.

Pozonsky served a brief stint in Alaska as a Worker's Compensation Board hearing officer. The Anchorage Daily News reported that he resigned last week after reporters began asking his superiors about the investigation, which quoted an email from Greg Cashen, assistant commissioner in the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Pozonsky, who started that $79,000-a-year job in October, could not be reached for comment. His North Strabane house sold for $410,000 in November, according to the Washington County Recorder of Deeds. His wife, Sara, is from Alaska.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.