I wanted to take this opportunity to update my post from yesterday. At least with regards to sick leave accruals and their use in calculating Final Average Salary, I had completely forgotten that this issue has already been litigated and resolved by the Oregon Supreme Court in the Ballot Measure 8 cases (collectively captioned OSPOA v State of Oregon, 1996). Ballot Measure 8, a citizen's initiative, passed by a close margin in 1994. Its objective was to eliminate the 6% pickup, prevent PERS from guaranteeing any rate of return to Tier 1 members (recall there were only Tier 1 members in 1994), and to prevent employers from allowing the accumulation of sick leave to be used as a way of raising the Final Average Salary in retirement calculations. The measure was struck down in its entirety by the Oregon Supreme Court. On some issues, the court was unanimous; on others, there was dissent. However, there was unanimous agreement that accrued benefits (all amounts already paid by employers for the employees, all earnings to date, and all accumulated sick leave) could not be taken away retroactively. The court did allow for the possibility that these benefits could be removed prospectively, but accrued benefits remained in the status they were in prior to any changes.
The conclusion here is that there have now been at least 4 Oregon Supreme Court decisions (Taylor, Hughes, OSPOA, and Strunk) that have held it permissible to change benefits going forward, but that accrued benefits must remain and cannot be removed retroactively. Thus, if the Legislature wants to enact a bill that tries to take away the use of sick leave retroactively, they will run smack into the buzz saw that is Taylor, Hughes, OSPOA, and Strunk. So, those worried about the potential loss of benefits they've already accumulated, the worry is probably misplaced. This does not mean that the Oregon Legislature will not try to force an end run around these rulings, but the likelihood of any legislation getting around these four rulings is pretty slim.
So, the legislative silence may be less a conspiracy than coming to the realization that bills that would attempt to change something retroactively won't fly, and that changing the rules prospectively won't save all that much money.
I still would caution anyone in the peri-retirement period to be observant, careful, and prepared to move quickly in the event that any negative decision emanates from the Oregon Legislature. Even a prospective change to something like sick leave, overtime, vacation time, etc has the potential to have significant consequences the longer you wait to retire. Once any law preventing their future use were to take effect would mark the beginning of a point in which future accumulated sick leave would not count, future overtime wouldn't count, and possibly future vacation accruals wouldn't make any difference.
I thank Bob Smith for reminding me that OSPOA included the sick leave removal as well as the 6% and the 8% provisions. The sick leave issue got lost in the shuffle.