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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Rough Justice

I've received quite a number of requests from retirees for me to resurrect my calculator that computes the COLA on the fixed benefit.  Although I never had such a calculator (wishful thinking on my readers' parts), I've decided that I will include a "good news" section to my Lipscomb calculator.  In honor of both the court decision that called for it, and in memory of a good friend whose name is associated with the decision, the revised calculator will be called the Lipscomb/Sartain Calculator.  As before, the Lipscomb piece will compute the scenario for window retirees under the now enjoined method PERS intended to use to recover money from retirees.  The Sartain portion calculator will unwind the process, extract the original "fixed benefit" and calculate the COLAs due retirees on that benefit.  It will provide an estimate of the current benefit as of 7/1/08 (note date carefully; I'm not expecting PERS to hurry), in addition to the amount PERS owes each retiree to for lost COLA.  I am unaware of any provision that will require PERS to pay interest on the "held" money.  

I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about what this calculator is for.  Its existence in no way suggests that PERS has rolled over and will suddenly pay us what they've refused to do for 4 years.  But, if the contrast between the Lipscomb outcome and the Sartain result motivates apathetic window retirees, many of whom have seemed to accept their fate without a fight, to rethink the importance of the battle, then I will consider the outcome a success.  I don't know how much work this will involve - I've only briefly examined the Lipscomb source code.  I'm guessing it will take me a few weeks to get a clean run and so watch for the revised calculator in early August -- before the status conference on the Arken case.

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