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Friday, September 04, 2009

Dope Ball

PERS latest waste of members' money was in the case of English v PERB, just ruled on by the Oregon Court of Appeals. This case involves a matter of policy in domestic partnerships. The plaintiff was in a domestic partnership that got terminated. Under Oregon Statute, a domestic partner *can* be named as a beneficiary on a PERS account. Following the dissolution of the partnership, the plaintiff sought to change beneficiaries. This privilege accords to married persons who divorce, depending on how the divorce decree is structured. PERS ruled that the plaintiff had no legal basis for changing beneficiaries because Oregon statute is silent on the question of domestic partnership dissolution and does not consider domestic partners as having *all* the same rights as married persons. PERS asserted that to allow this would "jeopardize the tax status of the plan". The Plaintiff appealed the case to an Administrative Law Judge, who ruled that PERS did not provide evidence that the plan might be impaired as a result of letting this plaintiff change benefiaries. PERS appealed that verdict and the case went to the Oregon Court of Appeals, wherein PERS lost again for the same reason. The OCA remanded the case back to PERS for resolution.

PERS has made a mockery of the entire judicial process asserting in almost every piece of litigation filed in the past 9 years that either (a) whatever they were being asked to do would "jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the plan", or (b) that it would be too costly to implement the changes. Never once have they every provided an ounce of actual evidence that either was true, but they continue to use our money to assert this as fact without support. Instead of this continuing battle of wills over PERS' assertions, it seems to me that PERS could save a lot of our money to seek a private IRS ruling about exactly what the plan can and can't do in these kinds of cases. Bravo to the judges who had the courage to call PERS' bluff and send them back to their hidey-holes to work out new lame excuses on which to impale members. Litigation against PERS is like a game of rope-a-dope with a dope ball. It is tiresome and time to stop.

Have a safe and sane holiday weekend. Drive carefully and don't become a statistic out on the mean streets of Oregon.

1 comment:

TruthSeeker said...

It has seemed obvious to me for years that the PERS Board mindset and perhaps mandate from the deceitful governor kulongowski was to protect PERS funds from retirees,... I suppose so that the employers can save money or at least punish the greedy former public workers who counted on it in their retirement.May Ted experience much pain in his declining years. There is a special place in Hell for liers and charlatans.