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Memorandum of Disapproval of the Bill Providing for the Relief of Camilla A. Hester.

October 12, 1976

I HAVE withheld my approval from S. 3790, a private bill which would authorize a civil service survivor annuity retroactive to September 28, 1972, to Mrs. Camilla A. Hester as the widow of the late John A. Hester.

While I am sympathetic to Mrs. Hester's circumstances, S. 3790 unfortunately contains two precedent-setting provisions which I consider very undesirable, not only for future private relief legislation, but also for ordinary claims under the Civil Service Retirement System.

The first would require the Civil Service Commission to pay interest at 6 percent per annum retroactive to 1972 on the survivor's benefit which would be authorized by S. 3790. The second would require the Treasury to pay Mrs. Hester $5,000 as compensation for her successful effort to be awarded the benefit. Neither of these provisions are appropriate, in my judgment, in bringing Mrs. Hester equitable relief.

For these reasons I am unable to approve S. 3790. I have signed other private relief legislation during the 94th Congress designed to rectify the inequitable circumstances arising from the "length of marriage" requirement in the civil service retirement law. However, these bills did not contain the objectionable provisions contained in S. 3790. I would be pleased, however, to consider legislation for Mrs. Hester that would provide appropriate relief without the objectionable features discussed above.


Gerald R. Ford, Memorandum of Disapproval of the Bill Providing for the Relief of Camilla A. Hester. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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