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Monday, March 13, 2006

The Rockafeller Skank

The sleaze just keeps oozing. On Friday, PERS put up new information about the Strunk/City of Eugene process. This was supposed to enlighten us about the significance of the "letter" that some of us received Friday or Saturday (or maybe today or not at all). If you follow all the links on the PERS website carefully they lead you to some interesting information. First, you will learn about *what* you can appeal within the next 60 days as a result of "the letter". According to PERS, the only judicial review you can petition for is one that reviews the "method" of repayment. Excuse me? It strikes me as more than a bit transparent that if you choose to appeal the "method" of repayment outlined in "the letter", that whether you "win" or "lose" will be immaterial (except, perhaps, to your wallet). Because, IF you appeal, it would seem to me that you are acknowledging to PERS that you accept the more fundamental fact that you "owe" something. Why would I appeal the "method" of repayment if I didn't think I owed anything? So, in making a decision whether or not to appeal this letter, be certain that you check with your legal adviser (and believe me you'll need one) to see whether this little "GOTCHA!!" is lurking in the shadows behind your actions. The second interesting "factoid" to be gleaned from the PERS posting is the more detailed timeline for benefit adjustments. If you're like me, when you retired, you transferred whatever variable balance you had to fixed and were done with it. Well, if that's the case, sayonara to any COLA on any benefit before summer 2007. That looks to me like the point at which the "window" retirees would see any changes to their current benefit.

In related news, many have reported to me that PERS customer service was without a clue on how to handle the myriad of questions that landed on them today. My favorite question: "when does the 60-day appeal period begin" Answer: when you get your "invoice". At least a dozen people reported that one to me. Push the fool button and dump those Customer Service reps and the people who trained right into the dunk tank. No mercy here.

I'm sure there'll be more entertaining news as the week moves on. PERS seems to thrive on ways to infuriate, anger, and plain piss-off the people whose money they are supposed to be managing "in trust". Smell something unwholesome? Don't worry, it's just the skank emanating out of Tigard and Salem.

P.S. And true to my prediction on Friday, at least 4 people emailed me to tell me that they had not recognized the "mail" sent to them by PERS as anything meaningful, and so recycled the letters. Several successfully extracted the "letter" from the trash. At least two report that their recycling had been picked up and the letters were gone. Very small sample, but not a really good scorecard for PERS' method of making the letter scream "OPEN ME NOW".

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