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On compulsory retirement of a member by an act of the Board of Pension Trustees or denial of benefits to a member by an act of the Board, the member shall have the following rights concerning the Board action.
(A) The Board shall, within a reasonable time after its decision on the compulsory retirement of a member or denial of member benefits, notify the member in writing of that decision, stating as clearly and concisely as is possible its findings and conclusions.
(B) Within the time provided by the Board in writing, of notification of the Board's decision to the member, the member shall, before commencement of any action in any court of competent jurisdiction against the Board or city, file a request for a public rehearing and review by the Board, with the Board Secretary, in writing.
(C) As soon as practicable after timely receipt of the request for rehearing and review by the member, the Board shall meet, after giving reasonable notice to the member. At that time the member shall have the right to be present with legal counsel and present all additional evidence or testimony in support of the member's claim for benefits before the Board for rehearing, review, and reconsideration of the Board's previous decision. At its option, the Board may call witnesses and place evidence in the record itself.
(D) If the Board's decision, upon formal rehearing and review, is adverse to the member, the member may then, within 30 days, appeal the Board's final decision, to the circuit court in and for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Broward County, and the court shall sit as an appellate court. The member's appeal to the court of the Board's formal rehearing and review of the member's claim shall be for review by certiorari only, and not by trial de novo.
(E) The member, during the rehearing and review process, and any subsequent appeals, shall be responsible for his own attorneys' fees and none shall be assessed against the Board. In addition, costs shall not be assessed against the Board unless it affirmatively appears to the court that it acted with gross negligence, or in bad faith, with malice in making the decision appealed from.
(F) The term MEMBER as used in this section and as defined in § 34.045 of this code, shall also include, where applicable, and be synonymous with the term BENEFICIARY as defined in § 34.045 in cases concerning death claims and shall, in addition, also apply to a member's legally appointed guardian in cases where the member has been adjudicated to be incompetent.
('58 Code, §11.65) (Ord.80-30, passed 12-26-79; Am. Ord. 82-18, passed 12-15-81; Am. Ord. 2000-73, passed 9-12-00)