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Hartford — The state Senate confirmed the judicial nomination of 66-year-old New London attorney Timothy Bates on Tuesday, even though he will be able to serve only for four years before he must retire at age 70.
As part of that retirement, he would get a $100,000 annual pension from the state and be eligible to work as a trial judge referee or senior judge and earn $232 per day.
The House of Representatives confirmed his nomination last week. Bates has only to take an oath of office before he begins serving as a Superior Court judge.
State Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, who supported Bates' nomination, said it is regrettable and seemingly unfair that someone should qualify for retirement after four years, but Bates is extraordinary and has an incredible commitment to public service.
"Shame on us that we haven't dealt with these issues," Maynard said.
The pension is not why Bates is serving, Maynard said. "I have known Mr. Bates to say with respect to this that he would happily give up the benefit," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, state Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Bloomfield, and state Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, each said Bates is qualified and they support his nomination.
However, Kissel said this was the type of nomination his constituents have a problem with because Bates would serve for only four years, has good health and would be able to continue to collect a pension and serve as a trial judge referee for years to come.
Connecticut residents can't find a way to send their children to college, are grappling with increasing inflation and haven't seen pay raises since 2008, Kissel said.
Maynard said the nomination pointed to the need for broad pension reform. Seventy is the new 50, he said, so perhaps it is time the mandatory retirement age be raised.
— Johanna Somers