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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Young Folks

Take heed. OPRI - Oregon Public Retirees Inc - is poised for some change. Currently, the OPRI Board consists of 3 "window retirees". That is not enough to effect any change in an organization whose bylaws were developed in the very early 1990's and reflect a style no longer relevant in today's electronically connected world. Several have tried to remake OPRI as more and more retirees piled up in the late 1990's and early 2000's. OPRI was not, and to some extent still isn't, entirely relevant to younger retirees. So long as the OPRI Board is controlled by members who are not well-versed and well-aware of issues germane to today's retirees, including all of the legislative changes and the litigation that is taking benefits away from the already-retired, OPRI will continue to be mostly irrelevant. But right now, the winds of change may be upon us. Two OPRI Board positions come vacant and will be selected by the current Board. One position is for a "state retiree" (a member who worked for any State of Oregon agency except Higher Education); the other position is for someone who worked for local school districts. Both positions expire in October. The current occupant of the local school district position, Dwayne Osburn, will not seek reappointment. It appears that the current occupant of the "state employee" position, Kathleen Beaufait, will seek reappointment. If you are interested -- and I strongly encourage someone from each area to BE interest -- please send a letter indicating your background and your interest to serving on the OPRI Board. Send your letter to: OPRI, P.O. Box 12945, Salem, OR 97309.

I cannot stress too strongly how important these two positions are. If it were to happen that "window retirees" or later were to be appointed to these two positions, recent retirees would control the OPRI Board. At that point it would be possible to get rid of some archaic by laws and implement some changes that would result in OPRI becoming more relevant to us "young folks". Right now, OPRI doesn't really represent our interests very well. It was once a feared organization with a reputation for getting retirees what they needed. Now, they're mostly ignored. It is time to restore the fear; it is time for OPRI to become relevant and to represent a whole new generation of retirees whose needs and interests differ in critical ways from the original founders of the organization. It is fine to honor our predecessors, but the time has come when we must cut the cords that bind the organization to outdated rules and attitudes.

Please, please, please. If you come from one of the relevant organizations and have a sincere desire to make OPRI relevant and feared, as it once was, please consider placing your name in nomination for one of the two vacancies. It is important now more than ever.

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