Four Systems Lack COLA

MARCH 1999 -
Only four communities have not accepted Chapter 17, Acts of '97, which
allows the local retirement board to pay a COLA under a state mandated
formula each year.

The retirement
boards of Chelsea, Easthampton, Hull and Hingham were unable to pay a
COLA to their retirees and survivors in the fiscal year which began
last July 1. None of the governing bodies of those four communities
have accepted Chapter 17.

Town
meetings in Saugus and North Attleboro did accept Chapter 17, but
prospective to July 1, 1999, meaning that retirees in those two towns
were not eligible for this fiscal year's COLA.

Kudos
to the retirement board of Gardner, whose members, backed by local
retirees, finally convinced the City Council to accept Chapter 17 this
January 4. Gardner retirees received COLA increases in their February
pension checks, retroactive to last July.

"Gardner
was a long, hard fight," noted Association President Ralph White.
"Several city councilors wanted to establish their own COLA law. It
took the Gardner Retirement Board a full year to convince the Council
that Chapter 17 was the proper route to follow."

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