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LITH will get say in officer's disability pension

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 11:47 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 12:08 p.m. CDT
Attorney Jeffrey Alter (right) argues that Lake in the Hills and attorney Carlos Arevalo (left) should not be allowed to intervene in the disability claim filed by Lake in the Hills Police Officer Craig James (center). The Board ruled Tuesday that Lake in the Hills will be allowed to intervene.

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The Lake in the Hills Police Pension Board ruled Tuesday that the village of Lake in the Hills will be allowed to intervene in the disability hearing of a village police officer.

Representing Lake in the Hills, attorney Carlos Arevalo said there is a “credibility question” with former Lake in the Hills Police Officer Craig James, and argued that the village should be present at the hearing and be able to cross-examine witnesses.

James has applied for line-of-duty disability pension benefits equal to 65 percent of his last salary after he was involved in a traffic accident in December 2009 that injured his lower back. His squad car was rear-ended as he was tending to a disabled vehicle at Randall and Village roads.

James has not worked since August 2010, and in March 2011 he took an unpaid leave of absence that expired in March 2012. He was terminated the same month.

Arevalo said the village will not contest James' non line-of-duty disability pension, but will argue that he is not entitled to line-of-duty disability. Non line-of-duty disability benefits would result in 50 percent of his last salary.

James' salary was $81,675 at the time of his disability.

Jeffrey Alter, the attorney for James, argued that the village of Lake in the Hills should not intervene on the basis that this case was not unlike other disability benefit cases and it would turn the hearing into an adversarial process.

A hearing will be held February 14 to determine James' non line-of-duty pension, and the hearing for his line-of-duty pension will be determined at a later date.

--Northwest Herald reporter Joe Bustos contributed to this report.

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