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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Chinese Arithmetic

Those folks over at PERS are on some of that funny stuff again, doing their best to sow a little FUD. Seems they've discovered that the current wording of ORS 238.715 needs to be revised a bit to accomodate their little shell game for recovering money from retirees. But before they can even begin to recover the money, they've got that small matter of notification of retirees that there's been an "error". By law, PERS has 6 years from the date of the error to notify a member; otherwise, they lose the right to collect. Well, with all PERS' computer problems and with all the multiple court rulings to implement, the 6 year limit is approaching fast - April 1, 2006 is the best guess. So PERS is busy promulgating a new administrative rule that has more than a few folks in a lather. The OPRI people www.opri.org have written PERS a letter outlining their concerns with the proposed rule. In short, what PERS is proposing to do is to comply with the law by simply NOTIFYING a retiree of their intent to change the benefit, without including the invoice explaining the error and how PERS is proposing to fix it. In other words, PERS wants to separate the notice from the invoice. However, the current ORS 238.715 triggers the contest period with the receipt of the NOTICE and never contemplates a separate invoice sent months or even years later. So, if this rule change were allowed to go unchallenged, members would have to file a contested benefit notice in the absence of knowing what they were contesting. This has all the hallmarks of Chinese arithmetic. If you want to protest, go to the PERS site and follow the links to proposed rulemaking. You can send an email to the rules coordinator right from the PERS site.

I've been a bit slowed the last week or so by multiple attacks of bad karma (an emergency root canal, a nasty case of hip bursitis, and a badly cut index finger). Hopefully the old axiom that bad luck comes in threes has already applied and I can soon look forward to a dose of some good karma. In the meantime, don't be on the road at the same time I'm out there. :-)

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