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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Come Together

The new PERS Oregon Discussion group (affectionately known as POD) is coming together nicely. Over the holiday weekend when it went live, we picked up 98 new members and have over 80 posted messages. Not bad given the limited amount of publicity we've gone for. The questions, so far, have almost ALL been about PERS, and clearly there has been a pent-up demand for a place to ask and to get these questions answered. I suspect that the other PERS newsgroup became fairly intimidating for some our new members as the political volume rose. Just an hypothesis, but I can't believe our new members wouldn't have asked them there (OPDG) if the invective and political level had been eliminated or the volume turned way down. Nevertheless, POD welcomes ALL questions of a PERS and retirement nature. And we promise to answer any questions you have, and we promise to direct you to relevant PERS employees if we can't answer your questions. I also promise to answer any question of a more personal level about PERS back channel by email if I don't think it appropriate to be revealing the specifics of your case in a public forum. I am really excited by the success so far, and anticipate that we will have a really useful forum for years to come.

If you are reading about the new group for the first time, and you want to join, there is a Yahoo! button in the left column. You can click the button and you will be taken directly to the "join" page for the new group. If you are already a member of other Yahoo groups (including OPDG) the "joining" process is quite simple. Even if you aren't a Yahoo member, the process is quite simple. I encourage you and all your PERS friends to join. The more members we have, the more diversity in the types of questions we'll get. And, this ISN"T JUST FOR RETIREES. We welcome membership from all active PERS members, OPSRP members, and inactive, but not retired, members. In short, there is nothing from the PERS membership we aren't interested in. Even questions about the OUS optional retirement plan, the Oregon 457 deferred compensation program, and the higher education 403B plan are welcomed. We may not always have the expertise to answer questions about those latter programs, but we do know who to recommend that you contact for deeper answers.

So come on in, enjoy the water, the fresh air, and the stimulating discussion. I've been astonished by the quality of the questions so far, and the overall enthusiasm of the members. We're shooting for 250 members by June 13. Think of this like an OPB pledge drive, except it won't cost you any money.

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