Jim Brenner and Chuck Jones, the gay Tallahassee couple who successfully sued the state of Florida over denial of spousal benefits, encountered another roadblock as the Department of Management Services recently told the couple they couldn’t change their pension plan, reports The Tallahassee Democrat:
On Friday, Brenner was told by a DMS official that despite [Judge Robert] Hinkle's ruling, he would not be able to pick the option he wanted in the first place. He said he was told by DMS that under Florida law, he could only make changes to the plan within the first month of entering DROP, a time that has long since passed. Brenner said a personnel official at the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services tried to intervene on his behalf but also was told no by DMS.
"I feel like I'm being made to beg for what I'm entitled to," said Brenner, fire-management administrator for the Florida Forest Service. "It was one of the original reasons for us filing the lawsuit. And now we're being told we're not entitled. It's our perception that the judge told us we are."
DMS officials, however, announced on Tuesday afternoon that they’re working on a plan to resolve the issue. Said DMS communications director Kendra Parsons:
"The Department of Management Services is developing a plan to contact all (Florida Retirement System) recipients and provide them necessary information on how to receive spousal benefits in light of the court's recent decision,"