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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Make It Go Away

At Friday's PERB meeting, staff admitted there had been a "computer glitch" (there is generally no such thing; human "glitches" yes, computer "glitch" no) that delayed sending out all the notification letters to retirees eligible to participate in the big giveaway back to PERS, for attorney fees in Strunk. In any case, all letters were resent and most retirees affected by this should have received the letters in yesterday's mail, or will receive them early next week. The letter tells you what your share of the attorney fees will be for the COLA freeze win in Strunk. From what I can figure, the attorney fees pretty much consume the entire 2004 COLA on the "fixed benefit" - a COLA we never received. While I don't agree that the winners should have to pay for their own win, Oregon law provides that in beneficiary/trust law, the "winners" should have to pay in proportion to what their share of the "victory" is.

Before screaming bloody murder, remember a couple of things: 1) the PERS Coalition signed off on this fee arrangement - our own attorneys and the organization representing us agreed to the payment system; 2) this is a ONE-TIME reduction, payable only on August 1, 2008 when the benefit naturally rises from the new COLA applied to the benefit. We get 2% on August 1; we will lose about 1/2 of that due to the one-time payment, but the full benefit resumes on September 1, 2008; 3) I do not know whether the reduction will come pre-tax or post-tax; I'd prefer it be pre-tax, but fear it will be post-tax.

I hope to have more information tomorrow. Stay tuned for the next installment of "As PERS Turns (on us)".

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