I was disappointed with Debra Erdley's news story “Ex-PSU counsel's pension criticized” (March 7 and TribLIVE.com). Like every other retired commonwealth employee, Cynthia Baldwin's pension was calculated under Pennsylvania law. Ms. Baldwin was not given any special treatment, and her pension is no more newsworthy than that of any other retired commonwealth employee.
Furthermore, Ms. Erdley omitted some critical information. For instance, by choosing to end her retirement to work as Penn State's general counsel, Baldwin forfeited two-and-a-half years of retirement benefits. Additionally, Pennsylvania law required Baldwin to contribute double what other state employees are required to contribute to the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System for her first 10 years as a judge and one-and-a-half times what other state employees are required to contribute thereafter.
Baldwin's pension is in full compliance with Pennsylvania law. Baldwin served the people of the commonwealth for over 30 years as a public school teacher, a deputy attorney general, an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge and a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, among other positions. Erdley's news story was certainly no way to repay Baldwin for her many years of service.
The writer, a partner in the Downtown law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, is counsel for Cynthia Baldwin.
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