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Saturday, September 29, 2007
With that explanation behind us, I can state confidently that PERS is NOT collecting or even documenting the actuarial reduction amount based on the "overpayment". They have been enjoined from doing that by Judge Kantor in the Arken/Robinson cases. The repayment amount has NO bearing on the amount of reductions Police and Fire members have been seeing on their recent invoices. The reduction of benefits being reported is ONLY the benefit reduction resulting from PERS continuing to adjust benefits (and account balances) to reflect the 11.33% crediting for 1999. Unfortunately, some Police and Fire members just happen to be in a situation where they were nowhere near the "cross over point" and were still being overpaid their benefits.
Apropos of those adjustments to benefits, PERS believes -- and so stated to Judge Kantor during the Status Conference on August 16, 2007 -- that Judge Kantor's injunction did not apply to those adjustments. Judge Kantor, in his (slightly incredulous) reply, let PERS attorneys know in no uncertain terms that he would clarify his final order so that PERS would know and understand exactly what he meant in his injunction. We are still waiting for Judge Kantor to issue that and, hopefully, stop PERS dead in its tracks and force them to reverse any adverse actions taken so far. Moreover, we hope that he will require PERS to follow the Supreme Court's ruling in the Strunk case that would restore COLA to the "fixed benefit" (the one you were receiving before you were invoiced). The Supreme Court was, in my opinion, quite clear on that order, but PERS disagrees and refuses to implement that. The Arken case raises that very issue and Judge Kantor is going to have to confront the Supreme Court's ruling directly in his final order. Whether PERS finds a way to parse the order to its advantage remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however. PERS will appeal Judge Kantor's ruling. So hold on to your hats, glasses, pens, computers, and iPods. It's gonna be a bumpy ride for the next couple of years.