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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tumbling Dice

My neighborhood fishwrapper (the Boregonian) reports that the Portland Police and Fire pension fund has been (surprise!) paying out about $3 million too much to retirees and their beneficiaries since about 1995. The Board will meet next Tuesday (August 26?) to discuss how to remedy the mistake, whether to recover the "overpayments" or to "eat the extra costs". This affects about half the current retiree cohort.

You can bet that the Portland Police and Fire pension fund Board will be taking cues from the PERS Board and will, if one were betting, follow PERB in collecting the overpayments. What makes this case somewhat different is that the Board is clueless about who is responsible for the mistake or how it was even made. This group didn't bother to keep minutes or notes during the period and so there is no way to actually figure out the inspiration for this error. The overpayments range from about $50 per month to slightly over $100 per month. The birdcage liner also reports that Portland Mayor Tom Potter and Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard are among those currently being overpaid pension benefits.

I wish the Portland Police and Fire Bureau the best of luck in working through this uncertainty. In my fantasy world, the retirees are left untouched and this becomes a legal precedent that can be used to benefit PERS retirees afflicted by this latest case of "no good deed ever goes unpunished."

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