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Monday, February 25, 2008

Comfortably Numb

Did you know that as of today exactly 1700 days have passed since July 1, 2003? That is the day our COLAs were taken away from us. That is the length of time that, according to the Oregon Supreme Court, PERS has been breaking the law and depriving us of what is constitutionally ours. No matter how you slice it, dice it, or chop it, the Supreme Court said that neither PERS nor the Legislature could withhold a COLA on a payable benefit. The Oregon Supreme Court also said that PERS couldn't recalculate benefits; that the Legislature had defined a new "fixed" benefit which was owed a COLA. So, have we become so comfortably numb that we've forgotten that decision - which is PERS' fondest hope - or do we need to remind them again? I thought that the 1700th day mark would be an appropriate occasion, especially in a leap year.


Steve Brenner said...

Perhaps it is time for all deprived PERS window retirees to both send a demand letter to the PERS Board and to file a demand in small claims court for each year's COLA payments. We have the Supreme Court's decision on which to base our suit for payment. If enough people sue it will jam up the small claims courts and create pressure on the entire judicial system. It is time to take the gloves off.
Steve Brenner

mrfearless47 said...


I wish it were as simple as filing a demand letter and entering small claims court. First, I don't think PERS is subject to small claims. This is governed by the ORS under administrative agency rules. There is an established (if wholly tilted against the retiree) process for taking on PERS. I don't think the claims would jam up the court system. I think they'd be rejected by a clerk. Second, I don't know about you, but my aggregate COLA losses far exceed the most generous estimates of the maximum for small claims court. Even a single year's loss may exceed the limit, and suing on a month-by-month basis, even if it were possible, would get old in a hurry.

I don't understand what is taking Judge Kantor so long. Obviously he doesn't want to get reversed by the higher courts, but this is riduculous.


badgergirl said...

is there no such thing as a statute of limitation for a judge to render a decision? Could Judge Kantor conceivably table his ruling indefinitely? I think it would be helpful if you could post on your blog the e-mail addresses of the major players in this standoff so that I and others could get active with our computers.

mrfearless47 said...

I don't know *who* you consider to be the major players in the standoff are. Greg Hartman is the attorney for the plaintiffs, and there a several different attorneys for the defendants, depending on which case you're referring to. The Judge holds all the cards.

As for the statute of limitations, I'm not aware of any; however Judge Kantor is elected to office. His term has to be up at some point in the future. Perhaps he's waiting to hand this off to his successor, although he'd have to drag his feet for at least another two years. I don't live in MultCo so I don't know when his term of office expires, but I haven't seen anything about it in the Boregonian.