Council Considers Second Lawsuit From Former OCBP Chief
Oliver Muzslay is suing for seven years of pension payments.
Having already received a $450,000 settlement in an age-discrimination lawsuit, a former captain of the Ocean City Beach Patrol now seeks seven years of $10,169.50 annual pension payments in a newer lawsuit.
The pension payments were never issued after Oliver Muzslay's position was eliminated in 2001.
City Council discussed Muzslay's lawsuit in executive session at its last meeting on Sept. 27 — a sign that the governing body may be considering another proposed settlement.
Oliver Muzslay served for 44 years on the Ocean City Beach Patrol, including 17 as captain after the retirement of George Lafferty. But Muzslay and the position of captain were removed in a 2001 reorganization that placed the formerly autonomous beach patrol under the jurisdiction of the Ocean City Fire Department.
Muzslay qualified to receive his pension at the time he left the patrol in 2001, but he did not receive his first payment until his "many letters and communications" were acknowledged in 2009, according to the lawsuit (see attached PDF). Muzslay's lawsuit seeks retroactive payment of his pension from 2002 through 2008.
Muzslay's lawsuit was filed in October 2011 against the City of Ocean City Lifeguard Pension Commission, which is funded by an equal combination of payroll deductions from working lifeguards and contributions from city taxpayers. Retired lifeguards qualify for a pension based on years of service and receive annual payments that represent a portion of a summer's worth of pay.
The city faces several other lawsuits, and taxpayers pay the cost through legal fees and increased premiums to the joint insurance fund that protects the city.
Muzslay signed a settlement agreement in December 2008 in his age-discrimination lawsuit against the City of Ocean City, former Mayor Henry Knight and former Public Safety Director Dominick Longo. The confidential settlement gave Muzslay $450,000 (see attached PDF). The suit was based, in part, on published comments from Knight that the city was looking for "some younger people" to take command of the OCBP.
The settlement agreement in the age-discrimination lawsuit did not in any way affect Muzslay's right to collect the annual pension he earned, according to the new lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks back payment of pension benefits of more than $70,000 and attorney fees and costs.
The city faces another age-discrimination suit from former Ocean City Beach Patrol Lieutenant Edwin Yust.
Muzslay was succeeded by Thomas Mullineaux, who took control of the beach patrol working under the fire department with the new title of operations director.