Tom Finneran Will Be Remembered

NOVEMBER 2004
- Championed Fiscal Solvency - The departure of Tom Finneran as House Speaker was the source of glee
in many quarters, especially the press, which had frequently criticized
him as being an autocratic despot.

However,
from our viewpoint, Tom Finneran will be recognized as the one person
on Beacon Hill who had the greatest knowledge and insight of our public
pension plan, and more than anyone, was responsible for assuring the
fiscal solvency that our retirement systems now enjoy.

As
both chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and subsequently
speaker, his fiscal style irked many. But it was Finneran's insistence
on establishing a rainy day fund when state revenues earlier peaked
that saved the day when there was a $2 billion budget shortfall during
leaner times.

He will be long
remembered by our Association's leadership, with whom he worked, as the
principal architect of the pension COLA reform law of 1997 (Ch. 17). It
came on the heels of a nine-year period during which there had been
only three COLAs.

As the result of
Tom Finneran's efforts, all of our members, encompassing every
retirement system, have received a COLA every year and on a higher base
(formerly $9,000) since 1998. "While others may criticize Tom's style,
there will be none from this quarter," said Association President Ralph
White. "I want our members to know that they had a true ally whose door
was always open to us. We wish Tom nothing but the best with his new
job."

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