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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wait No More

On behalf of Kay Bell and others who have been really harmed by PERS misinformation, I urge you to call Governor Kulongoski's office at 503 378-4582 to urge him to sign Senate Bill 897. This bill would require PERS to be more accountable to members approaching retirement. It would require them to take various measures to insure accuracy in the final estimates given to members PRIOR to their signing over their jobs and entering the retiree category. This bill was sponsored by OPRI and was passed in the Oregon Senate and Oregon House by nearly unanimous votes. This is truly a bipartisan effort. There continue to be disturbing rumors that Governor Kulongoski may veto this bill despite the Legislative unanimity given the bill. PERS is strongly *opposed* to the bill on the grounds that it will cost them a lot of money to implement. I've called BS on this argument before and I continue to do so. Regardless of how much it costs to implement, PERS is supposed to be the trustee for OUR retirement money and OUR benefits. The least we can expect from them is an accurate estimate of our retirement benefits BEFORE we make an irrevocable decision to retire. There are far too many instances where PERS has said "oops, there was a mistake in your benefit. Your benefit will be reduced and you owe us money". This is unacceptable. I'm not talking about cases like the City of Eugene or the Legislative reforms. I'm talking about plain old data recording errors, employer errors, and errors caused by accidents and incompetence. PERS retirees and near retirees should not have to relinquish their jobs without having an ACCURATE estimate of their retirement benefits. Oregon is the only state where there seems to be no accountability for accuracy. SB 897 takes a small step in the direction of rectifying that situation. The bill is not ideal, but it is the best we've got right now. Urge the Governor to sign the bill and allow all of us to move on with our lives. Call 503 378-4582 and register your support for SB 897.

1 comment:

MollyNCharlie said...

Thanks for putting this out to your readers, Marc. I watched SB 897 go through the legislative process and, though I don't fully agree with some of the compromises made, it is still an important step in the right direction. I am deeply concerned with the rumors that our lame duck governor plans to quietly veto this important bill that passed both the Senate and House without any 'no' votes!