Loose Lips

Police Chief Sues District Over Douple Dipping

Lou Cannon, chief of the D.C. Protective Services Police Department, is suing the District in federal court over a recent pay cut after the city caught wind that he'd been receiving both a full salary and a pension, in apparent violation of the city law.

Cannon is joined by five other retired Metropolitan Police Department officers who rejoined the city's work force (all currently work for Cannon at the Protective Services Police Department, which polices city-owned buildings). LL documented Cannon et al.'s pay imbroglio last year, reporting that the District has started cracking down on several employees it says have been improperly receiving both a full salary and a full pension for years.

In court papers filed last month, Cannon's attorney says his clients fall under the Civil Service Retirement System and therefore aren't subject to the city law that requires retired cops, firefighters, and teachers who return to the city workforce to have their new salaries be offset by their pensions. The city is arguing that Cannon and the officers aren't part of the civil service system.

What's really interesting is that Cannon et al. are claiming "deprivation of equal protection under law." Why? Well, you may recall from LL's column that MPD Chief Cathy Lanier, upon learning that three of her deputies were going to have their salaries offset by their pensions, gave them huge raises. Cannon and the other plaintiffs say that's not fair, because they did get their pay offset. Or, in legalese: "By the District of Columbia government enforcing this offset against the Plaintiffs ... but effectively negating the effect of the offset on other persons by simply giving them more money, the Plaintiffs ... have been denied equal protection of the laws."

Now LL's no lawyer, but it seems like this argument may prove tricky for the Gray administration to defend; you'll recall that they had no good answers as to why Lanier was able to give her subordinates huge raises while other double dippers went without. The attorney for the District declined to comment on that part of the case; the phone of Cannon's attorney's, Matthew LeFande (the subject of this old City Paper story by Jason Cherkis) just kept ringing and ringing with no answer. Cannon didn't immediately return a call for comment.

The complaint says the District started enforcing the offset at the beginning of this year, and that some of the plantiffs "received pay statements of zero dollars." The complaint also says that the District has identified 28 alleged double dippers, but that there could be "several hundred" more.

On Tuesday, a federal judge denied Cannon et al.'s request to receive a full salary and a full pension until the court decides the case. LL will have more as this case progresses.

  • http://www.lefande.com Matthew LeFande

    Sorry LL, I don't have a secretary.

    Try my email next time, it's listed on all the court filings.

  • Holdadice

    @LL: Bet he'll need two or three if he wins this case.
    (Not sure I would find for him if I were on a jury hearing the matter.)

  • http://www.lefande.com Matthew LeFande

    Juries decide factual disputes and there aren't going to be too many of those in this case.

    The biggest dispositive question is a legal one. If these people were first hired way back when District of Columbia employees received retirement benefits from the federal government and they were grandfathered in for such federal retirement benefits at the time of Home Rule, how can the District of Columbia now offset federal retirement benefits the District doesn't even pay?

    This question will be decided by the judge alone and then perhaps reviewed by the higher courts.

  • Gtfooh

    I Can't believe Cannon hasn't been fired yet. That alone is sickening.

  • PSD insider

    First of all Lou, you are lucky to still have your job with over 20 EEO and racial complaints. You have fired over 15 blacks for standing up to your crazy short man insecurities. You have stolen dc government property and given it to north beach police dept, you have hired criminals to the department of second chances. If the former Director wasn't related to your family you would have been fired after Lt. Holden case. You and your command staff are taking cruisers home like you are the real police. How many times Does SOMB have to tell you that you are a SPO with nice cars. So take your $137 dollar check and shut up or go back to your double wide trailer. Take the rest of your white power klan with you. They even dont like you and are bailing on you, before you leave use the FOP densist plan and get your rotten teeth fix!

  • Holdadice

    Hmmmm!
    Wonder if the PSDi #5 comment will generate any dispositive questions for the judge and/or higher courts reviews? If there is any verifiable truth to PSDi's claims, LC has a lotta moxie. The sense of entitlement of some of those sworn to uphold the law (which makes them think they are above the law)is terrifying. The possibility of even a minuscule amount of truth to #5 warrants scrutiny by his esteemed attorney, if not outright dismissal from the job (quite a few honest citizens could really use right now).

    WELLLL LL: What have you gotten started now?
    Mr. C, you shudda quit when you was ahead.

  • PSD insider

    I just wanted to add, that my name is Brian Hubbard and although my avatar is "PSD insider" I am actually no longer affiliated with PSD.

  • Holdadice

    WOW!!!

    B Hubbard gotta lotta moxie too, steppin' to 'em like dat.

  • LOL

    This seems like a weak case if the basis is equal protection. Had the officers all be black or some other legally protected group, then I could see how the government would have to really justify their decision. But this would likely trigger a rational basis review, meaning that so long as the government had a general legitimate reason they can win.

  • Jeff Moore

    Good job PSD Insider for protecting cannpn, because, he is just a little man with a gun. It's a shame you can't use your own name and have to use Hubbard's name to be a man.

    The funny thing is you are PSD punk with a gun. This is probably welham Cupcake men loving faggot. Ask George Washington police about your firing, see if thats a lie or that whistle blower case you have for being a fat snitch. Now that Judy is single go have a drink with her and Gainey.

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