School Board Wins Lawsuit Over Retired Superintendent’s Pension

On Tuesday, 13 months after Johnston County Schools filed a lawsuit against the State of North Carolina Retirement Division, a Wake County Superior Court Judge ruled in favor of the school system.

The lawsuit centered around the retirement of former Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom and his retirement cost to Johnston County taxpayers.

Dr. Croom was being paid $215,022 a year when he retired in February 2016. He was making such a large salary, the retirement division contended state law required Johnston County to pay $435,913.54 towards his pension. A previous bill had the amount at $508,346.96 but was recalculated.

Yesterday, Superior Court Judge James Hardin Jr. ruled in favor of Johnston County Schools saying they will not have to contribute the additional funds.  The suit said the Retirement System violated the state’s Administrative Procedure Act when it set the formula for determining the cap on retirement benefits without following the procedures for adopting an administrative rule.

On Wednesday, School Board attorney Jimmy Lawrence of Smithfield said, “It is a good decision for Johnston County Public Schools and Johnston County taxpayers.”

The State has the option to appeal the judge’s decision.