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BARNES v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

May 15, 1985

ROBERT BARNES, et al., Plaintiffs
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants


Barrington D. Parker, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER

Barrington D. Parker, District Judge:

 INTRODUCTION

 This matter comes before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. The plaintiffs are employees of the District of Columbia General Hospital ("D.C. General") who receive annuities from the federal government by virtue of their status as retired military personnel. They have filed suit challenging the District of Columbia's ("District" or "D.C.") application of section 1103(b) of the District of Columbia Government Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act of 1978, D.C. Code § 1-612.3(b). As originally enacted, this statute was designed to preclude dual compensation by reducing the salaries of federal and District of Columbia annuitants employed by the District. *fn1" The statute provided that the total compensation received by a reemployed annuitant could not exceed the amount of the salary he was entitled to receive under the District of Columbia salary schedule. In effect, these individuals would forfeit the portion of their salaries which was equal to their pensions. These restrictions applied equally to individuals receiving annuities under federal or District civilian retirement systems, and those receiving annuities pursuant to the military retirement system. These restrictions were not, however, implemented by the District until 1984, when the plaintiffs and other District employees were notified of the District's intention to enforce the statute prospectively. Shortly thereafter, the City Council of the District of Columbia amended the statute to provide that the first $51,000 in salary received by retired military personnel was exempt from the statute. This amendment became effective on March 13, 1985, after the required 30-day congressional review period. This temporary legislation will remain in force until September of 1985.

 The plaintiffs challenge the statute both as originally enacted and as amended. They argue that it violates the Supremacy Clause and the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution, and is inconsistent with various provisions of local law, including the District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, D.C. Code § 1-201 et seq., D.C. Code § 1-612.1(a)(2), and certain regulations contained in the D.C. Personnel Manual. Finally, they assert that the District of Columbia should be equitably estopped from enforcing or implementing section 1-612.3. Only the claims under the United States Constitution are within this Court's federal jurisdiction; the remainder are properly characterized as pendent claims. *fn2"

 The defendants are the District of Columbia, Mayor Marion Barry, and Edward Conway, the Director of the Personnel and Manpower Division at D.C. General. The individual defendants are sued only in their official capacities. The Court determines that the plaintiffs' constitutional claims are without merit, and dismisses these claims with prejudice. Moreover, the Court declines to exercise jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' pendent local claims. To do so would be an abuse of discretion. The reasons for this determination are set forth below.

 FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 Each of the plaintiffs was hired by D.C. General after the enactment of D.C. Code § 1-612.3 in 1979. *fn4" They responded to a published position vacancy announcement which established a salary range and stated that the District of Columbia was an equal opportunity employer who would consider "all qualified candidates" without regard to a number of factors including "source of income." Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment ("Plaintiffs' Motion"), Appendix A, filed Sept. 14, 1984. The plaintiffs were not specifically informed about the statute until June of 1984, when they were notified that "the reduction in your pay by the amount of the annuity you receive will commence on the first day of the first pay period in September 1984 (September 2, 1984)." Id., Appendix B. Similar announcements were sent to all federal and District annuitants employed by the District. In effect, this announcement meant that the salaries of these individuals would be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount of their pensions.

 The plaintiffs received a short reprieve from this action -- until October 14, 1984 -- so that the Council of the District of Columbia could consider emergency legislation designed to soften the effect of this pay reduction scheme as applied to retired military personnel. On October 25, 1984, the Council enacted temporary legislation, D.C. Law 5-140, which provided that retired military personnel whose combined salary and annuity did not exceed $51,000 were exempt from the pay reduction statute. *fn5" This amendment did not extend to civilian annuitants. Military personnel whose combined salary and pension exceeded $51,000 were still covered by the statute, and their salaries were reduced by the amount of the excess.

 The law was transmitted to Congress for the required 30-day review period. Since the 30-day period expired without congressional action, D.C. Law 5-140 became effective on March 13, 1985. The law will expire in September of 1985.

 The plaintiffs have informed the Court that only four of the original plaintiffs are still subject to the pay reduction statute in light of the 1984 amendment. The salaries of the other plaintiffs were presumably paid without reduction. The Court now turns to the constitutional claims raised by the remaining plaintiffs. The constitutionality of the law both as enacted and as amended is discussed. In the Court's view, the relevant issues do not differ materially under either version of the statute, and the case is now ripe for decision.

 LEGAL ANALYSIS

 Supremacy ...


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