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The Petitioner, Robert Brian Young, is appealing from the March 10, 2006 decision of the Respondent, Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), denying his request to participate in the RetirementPlus program. (Exhibit 1). The appeal was timely filed. (Exhibit 2). A hearing was held on October 23, 2007 at the offices of the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA), 98 North Washington Street, Boston, MA. At the hearing, nine (9) exhibits were marked. The Petitioner testified in his own behalf. Both parties stated their arguments for the record. One (1) tape was made of the proceedings.
Based upon the testimony and documents submitted at the hearing in the above-entitled matter, I hereby render the following findings of fact:
1. The Petitioner, Robert Brian Young, has been a member of the Teachers' Retirement System since September 1998. When he completed his enrollment form in September 1998, he listed his full name. (Exhibit 5).
2. Notwithstanding the Petitioner's listing his full name on the enrollment form, the TRS continued to send mail to him as "Mr. Robert Young at 640 Woburn Street, Wilmington, MA" without differentiating between the Petitioner and his father. (Testimony).
3. In February 2001, current members of the TRS were mailed an Election Form and given until June 30, 2001 to affirmatively elect to participate in RetirementPlus.
4. In February 2001, the Petitioner resided at 640 Woburn Street, Wilmington, MA with his parents. The Petitioner's father, Robert William Young, also resided at that address. In February 2001, Robert William Young was also an educator and a member of the TRS. (Exhibit 7).
4. The TRS mailed a RetirementPlus election package to the Petitioner at 640 Woburn Street, Wilmington, MA. (Exhibit 4).
5. The Petitioner's father, Robert W. Young, also received a RetirementPlus election package and he opted to participate in the program on May 9, 2001. (Exhibit 9).
6. The Petitioner never received his RetirementPlus election package in February 2001. (Testimony).
7. In March 2006, the Petitioner wrote to the TRS and stated that he had never received any information related to the RetirementPlus program. He requested that the TRS allow him to participate in RetirementPlus after the July 1, 2001 statutory deadline. (Exhibit 3).
8. The TRS denied the Petitioner's request on March 10, 2006. (Exhibit 1).
9. The Petitioner filed a timely appeal. (Exhibit 2).
The Petitioner is not entitled to prevail in this appeal. G.L. c. 32 s. 5(4)(i) specifies that election to participate in RetirementPlus must have occurred on or after January 1, 2001 and before July 1, 2001. The Respondent is correct in contending that the statute does not provide exceptions to the election deadline. The TRS did mail a RetirementPlus election package to the Petitioner at his residence. The Petitioner knew that the TRS sent him materials without using his full name or middle initial. It was incumbent upon him in that living situation to ensure that he was able to view all of his own mail and to separate his mail from his father's mail. Inasmuch as the Petitioner did not return his election form prior to July 1, 2001, the TRS properly determined that he was not eligible to participate in RetirementPlus. The decision of the TRS is affirmed. So ordered.
Division of Administrative Law Appeals,
DATED: December 31, 2007