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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First Flash Of Freedom

The family and I will be leaving for Italy at the end of the week.  It has been a year since we were last in Europe, and the great exchange rate between the Euro and the Dollar inspired us to do a more protracted trip this year.  We've got housesitters, dog sitters, mail sitters, and newspaper sitters all aligned like the stars in the out nebula.  After a week or so in Northern Italy, we shall catch a Norwegian Cruise Ship and make our way to Athens, Dubrovnic, Napthlion, Ismir, and Split, finally heading back into Venice when August tips its nose at us.  Consider this your warning that PERS news is empty right now and I will have no hit tips to offer for the next three weeks or so.  I plan, jet lag willing, to be present at the Arken/Robinson hearings at the Oregon Court of Appeals on August 6.  Hopefully, my brain will be in tact enough to glean anything intelligent from those august proceedings.

Thanks to everyone for all the nice emails you've sent me about this site.  I've been writing about PERS-related issues for close to 10 years now.  The current blog has been running for close to 7 years.  Without all my sources, both within agencies big and small, and PERS members/retirees sharing their experiences, this blog would have been much impoverished.  Enjoy the sunny weather, enjoy the tease that is an Oregon summer, and most of all, stay tuned for further developments on cases that bear our our future incomes.

I will toast all of my readers at our first meal in Venice, and in each subsequent meal in all the cities that will follow.  This is the most relaxing trip we have ever planned and we expect to enjoy it to the fullest.

Au revoir, arrivederci, ciao.   I shall return.

P.S. 8 p.m. Tuesday night.  The Arken hearing has been canceled for now.  It will NOT take place on August 6th as planned.  It will obviously occur later, perhaps in September, which will give me more time to recover from my demented state following the crossing of 10 (or 11, not sure) time zones.

P.P.S. Thursday night, from airport.  The rescheduled hearing will be September 2, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. in the same location.  Same players.  See you all then.  Glad all these corrections caught up with me before the big plane take bwana to Netherlands - land of disappointment in World Cup.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Another Brick in the Wall

At long last there is a schedule for the Oregon Court of Appeals hearing of the Arken and Robinson appeals.  These two cases will be heard back to back on August 6, 2010 at 9:30 in the Supreme Court building in Salem.  These two cases both harken back to the combination of the settlement agreement between the employers and PERS in the City of Eugene case (Arken), and to PERS' invoicing window retirees for alleged overpayments on 1999 earnings (Robinson).  The Arken case challenges the validity of the settlement agreement and alleges that the PERS Board did not exercise its fiduciary responsibility to members and retirees by entering into an agreement that harmed the very people who the PERS Board is charged to represent.  The Plaintiffs (PERS Coalition) were rebuffed by Judge Kantor in the Multnomah County Circuit Court.  The Robinson case alleges that PERS did not follow the statutory requirements of HB 2003 in attempting to collect money from retirees that HB 2003 did not give them permission to collect.  It alleges that only the employers were required to subsidize the "excess payments" and that retirees should not have been invoiced at all.  This case was also heard in Judge Kantor's court.  Judge Kantor ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs in this case and enjoined PERS from collecting any further amounts from retirees.

The Court of Appeals has allowed one hour for oral arguments in each case.  The only surprise was that they didn't join the cases to hear them simultaneously.  This means that they will, again, be ruled on separately.

This is, by no means, the end of the line for these cases.  Regardless of the outcome of the cases in the Court of Appeals, both will end up in the Supreme Court, and that path confirms my earlier guess that it will be at least 2012 before window retirees and others will gain any final resolution on these cases.  Both of these cases have been in the legal system for a very long time, and we still have two long years to go before seeing the end of the tunnel and the wall completed.