As a CalSTRS member, what are my rights in the appeals process?
Any person or entity who disagrees with a decision by the director of a CalSTRS program area may request a review of that decision by the program’s executive. If you disagree with the program executive’s determination, you may request an administrative hearing, and an administrative law judge will issue a Proposed Decision. The Teachers’ Retirement Board considers the Proposed Decision and makes the final CalSTRS decision.
A brief description of the appeals process follows. It is not intended to take the place of the law regulations or the written procedures for the appeals process.
How do I request a review if I disagree with a decision?
If you disagree with a decision by the director of a CalSTRS program area, you may request a review by the program’s executive (Executive Review) within 45 days of the date of the letter informing you of the CalSTRS decision. According to state regulations, your request for an Executive Review must include a statement of all facts, any basis in the Education Code or other law, that you believe is relevant, and any other pertinent information to dispute the decision.
The Executive Review is conducted by the Executive Review Committee (ERC), which is made up of members of the executive staff, program managers and staff, the Ombudsman and Legal Services staff. The ERC reviews the situation based upon any additional information you provide, along with the law and facts. The ERC then prepares a written analysis and issues a determination.
How do I request a hearing if I am not granted an Executive Review or if I disagree with the Executive Review Committee’s determination?
To appeal the Executive Review Committee’s decision, you may request an administrative hearing, which will be held before an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings. The request for a hearing must be made within 90 days from the date of the ERC response.
When will my hearing be held?
The Office of Administrative Hearings will schedule the hearing and notify all parties regarding the time, date and location.
What takes place at the hearing?
The hearing is a full evidentiary hearing, meaning witnesses may be called. CalSTRS may be represented by the state attorney general or in-house counsel. You may be represented by an attorney or you may represent yourself.
Following the hearing, the administrative law judge will submit a Proposed Decision to CalSTRS. CalSTRS will provide all parties with a copy of the Proposed Decision within 30 days.
What is the Proposed Decision and how do I take further action?
The Proposed Decision of the administrative law judge is not the final decision. The Teachers’ Retirement Board must decide whether or not to adopt the Proposed Decision within 100 days of receiving it. The board’s Appeals Committee has the final authority to act on behalf of the board. When you receive your copy of the Proposed Decision, you’ll be given the date that the Appeals Committee will act on your case, staff recommendations regarding your case, and procedures for submitting further written argument.
If the Appeals Committee adopts the Proposed Decision, then that is CalSTRS final decision. If the Appeals Committee does not adopt the Proposed Decision, it must either send it back to the administrative law judge or decide the matter itself at a future meeting of the committee.
If you’re dissatisfied with the Appeals Committee’s decision, you may ask the committee to reconsider its decision or you may appeal to Superior Court. You’ll be notified of this right when you receive your copy of the Appeals Committee’s decision shortly after the hearing takes place.
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