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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Walking On Thin Ice
Here we had a golden opportunity to have a significant influence on the direction that OPRI takes. Yet, only pure apathy can describe this lack of movement. It can't be ignorance because this blog and OPDG had countless announcements of the vacancies.
I'm getting very discouraged by things like this. While I appreciate all the individual kudos I get for writing this blog, and I appreciate the individuals who have contributed to the development of a high-class database of all PERS-related documents, it is the lack of effort on the part of most readers of this blog, most lurkers on OPDG, and the rest of the 38,000+ affected retirees that puts us in a sorry predicament. We have NO (none, zero, nada, zip) organization that exclusively represents the interests of recent PERS retirees. Right now, we have a couple of lawsuits out there that might change our collective fates, but legal representation costs megabucks and those megabucks are coming largely from the unions representing active workers, not retirees. How much longer do you think the unions are going to spend the kind of money required to litigate every injustice done to retirees, especially with the abject apathy evident. If people really cared, they'd be scrambling to overtake OPRI with current retirees; they'd be scrambling to be at PERS Board meetings where the action is; they'd show up at every court hearing on any of these cases. In fact, retiree inaction is so pitiful that we've let PERS walk right over the top of us. Do you think if we had a strong and highly visible presence, we'd have been stomped so hard? Either people have been lulled into a false sense of security that the litigation will eventually play out in their favor, or more likely they've chosen to bury their heads in the sand. Worse still, perhaps they don't care. Perhaps in the ultimate act of masochism towards oneself and sadism towards fellow retirees, they are into self-flagellation. I've seen this from a few - "We don't deserve the size retirement benefits we got. The current actions are fair." When I hear that, my blood pressure goes through the roof. Talk about blaming the victim. I sure as hell don't think my pension is too high. I chose to retire when I did on the expectation of getting my fixed pension plus COLA each year. I retired before any of this Lipscomb shit came down. Why the hell should I be screwed for the stupidity of the PERS Board. Their only fault was abject stupidity. They did nothing illegal and my pension does not contain any errors except for the COLA that PERS has been withholding since 2003.
I hate to say this but recent PERS retirees, in the main, have walked right into this buzzsaw and seem not to care. The apathy is PERS' strongest weapon. Recent retirees are walking on thin ice and are about to fall in and drown. Inactivity is our own worst enemy. I'm afraid that the longer I see this, the less motivation I have to keep spending the time and energy researching all these topics. If I can't motivate people to become more informed, more proactive, more reactive, and more energized to participate in all the various opportunities we have had to effect some change in our fates, then it may be time to retire in peace. I *know* my fate. I *know* how to fight and I will fight, but on my behalf. If 38,000+ people don't care enough to help themselves, why should I care so much? It is a question I find myself asking more and more each day. I'm gonna need a lot of convincing to stay at this.
P.S. Added at 9 p.m. I've learned that there might have been one applicant for the State Employee position but I don't know whether this was Kathleen Beaufait, incumbent in the position, or her and one other person. The fact is that Kathleen was reappointed. The other position, for a public school system retiree, remains open for anyone to apply for. The incumbent in that position chose not to "re-up".