Medford Votes First On July COLA

MARCH 2004
- Three Other Boards Quickly Follow - Medford's Retirement Board wasted no time in voting for a July 2004
3% COLA, becoming the first board in the state to take this action.

While
boards have until July, the start of the new COLA year, to vote on a
pension increase, the Medford Board decided this past December 23, to
go ahead and vote on 3%.

According
to Association Vice President Tom Curtis, who is also an elected member
and chairman of the Medford Board, "There was no point in waiting."
Curtis, a retired firefighter, said "We (Board) agreed that three
percent was reasonable, especially with the limited $12,000 base. We've
always been up front with our members... and there was no point keeping
them hanging."

And Board members
Anne Baker, Tom Cangiano and Jim Vieira also agreed. City Auditor Baker
is the Board's ex officio member; Cangiano, a banker, is Mayor Michael
McGlynn's appointee and Vieira, a recent state retiree, the Board's
fifth member, is elected by the first four.

Plymouth
County, under Chairman John McLellan, is a perennial early-voting
retirement board. On January 20, Board members Joe McDonough, John
Sciara, Jim Harrington, Carole McCormack and McLellan, without debate,
voted 5-0 for this July's COLA.

"Why procrastinate," said McLellan. "It's (COLA) something that we've provided for in our funding schedule."

Newton is another Retirement Board that always votes early for the retirees' COLA, and this year Newton held true to form.

On
January 21, Board members Paul Bianchi, Frank Capello, David Wilkinson,
Nunzio Piselli and Dick Heidlage voted 5-0 for a 3% COLA.

Nunzio
Piselli, the Board's chairman, said that his Board is "always sensitive
to the needs of its retirees and wanted to make the COLA the first
order of business in January." Piselli is a retired Newton DPW
Commissioner of Administration.

On
January 28, the Essex Regional Retirement Board voted 5-0 for a 3% July
COLA. The Essex System includes 19 towns and 28 authorities and
districts. Tim Bassett, Jim Cashman, Glenn Morse, Bill Martineau and
Kathy O'Leary are the Essex board members. Bassett is the executive
director.

Under our COLA law, boards
have the option this year of voting for a COLA based on the latest
consumer price index (CPI) figure of 2.1% or a maximum of 3%. Most
boards will be voting within the next few months, but there are always
a few that will wait until June. We will keep members apprised of the
boards that have voted through our website and our toll-free hotline.

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