Patrick appoints Wass to MTRB and nominates Sullivan to Appeals Court post

Governor Deval Patrick recently appointed a former MTA president to the board overseeing the teacher pension system and nominated a highly respected labor attorney as an Appeals Court judge.

Former MTA President Anne Wass, now a retired Hanover teacher, was appointed by Patrick to the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement Board and sworn in to office on September 26 for a term that expires on April 18, 2014.

 Jill Jackson and Anne Wass

 MTA Past President Anne Wass, right, with staff member Jill Jackson at the September MTA Retired Members Gathering.

The MTRB administers the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System, which serves a membership of more than 88,000 active educators and 52,000 retirees and survivors.

“I am honored that the governor appointed me to this very important board,” Wass said of her appointment. “The future of public employee pensions is now being debated in the Legislature. Although the MTRB cannot affect the outcome of that debate, the board is charged with making sure that the pension system for public school educators is administered fairly and efficiently.”

Toner said, “The MTA is thankful to Governor Patrick for appointing Anne Wass to the MTRB as a voice for retired educators. She will work hard to make sure our retirement system continues to benefit our members.”

The MTRB is composed of seven members chosen in accordance with state law:

  • The Massachusetts State Treasurer or his or her designee.
  • The Auditor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or his or her designee.
  • Two members who are elected by the active and retired members of the system.
  • A retired teacher who is appointed by the governor.
  • A member who is chosen by the vote of the other six.
  • The Massachusetts commissioner of elementary and secondary education or his or her designee. The commissioner serves as the board chair.

Excepting the chairperson, state treasurer and state auditor, each member serves a four-year term. The length of the chairperson’s term depends upon the term of office of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education. The board, which meets at least once a month:

  • Votes on every disability retirement allowance.
  • Investigates all claims for accidental and ordinary disabilities.
  • Establishes the rules and regulations of the agency.
  • Oversees the dissemination of services and information to its membership.

Wass taught at Hanover Middle School for 31 years. During much of that time, she was active in her local association and the MTA. She served as MTA’s president from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2010.

Toner also applauded the governor’s nomination of Mary T. Sullivan as associate justice of the Appeals Court.

Sullivan is a partner at the Boston firm of Segal Roitman, LLP, with extensive litigation experience. She represents labor organizations, labor-management, health, welfare and pension funds and individual employees in labor, employment and benefits matters.

She partnered with MTA in preparing an important amicus brief in a case before the Supreme Judicial Court concerning the role of collective bargaining under the Education Reform Act of 1993.

“Mary Sullivan will bring much needed labor voice and perspective to the courts,” said MTA President Paul Toner. “She is intelligent, hard-working and fair.”

Sullivan serves as co-chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section. Her public service also includes membership on the Commonwealth’s Apprenticeship Training Council, the Public Library of Brookline Board of Trustees and the Artbarn Community Theater Board of Trustees.