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Monday, March 11, 2013
Pressing On A Bruise
The crucial fact - one that many of us have been claiming for some time - is that the $24,000 figure is (a) drawn from thin air (b) does not accurately capture the truth about PERS employment and (c) punishes the career employees at the expense of short-timers.
Using PERS' own data, submitted to both the Oregonian and the Statesman Journal last year, we find 63611 PERS retirees earning less than $2000 per month and retired with an average of 14.5 years. The remaining PERS retirees, earning more than $2000 per month, average 26.5 years of service and number 53361 retirees. This split in the data confirms the compelling observation that a COLA cap set at $24,000 is both arbitrary and rewards short-time employment, while it is particularly punitive to employees who dedicated their careers to public service. Not only does this send a proverbial message of "f - you" for your lengthy service, it also acts as a strong anti- recruitment message for a career in public service. I truly hope that the Legislature doesn't fall victim to this maximally cynical message. Talk about pressing on a bruise. Ouch!