NOVEMBER 17, 2008: In an effort to keep members updated on the latest breaking news relative to Massachusetts public retirement, the Association has launched a new weekly News Alert, which coincides with our longstanding toll-free recorded hotline.

On Friday, November 21, 2008 the Association will hold our annual South Eastern MA meeting at White’s of Westport. The meeting begins at 1:00 PM and is conveniently located at the junction of I-195 and Rt. 24.

Association officials are continuing to monitor developments in a number of local communities, which are considering joining the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Public Employee Committees (PECs) are now actively meeting in Arlington, Ipswich, and Weymouth. This fall, the deadline for an affirmative vote to join the GIC (effective July 1, 2009) is now December 1, 2008.
Meanwhile, the GIC is scheduled to hold its November Commission meeting on Friday, November 21, 2008. Of great importance to state retirees and the thousands of local retirees now insured under the state health plans is how the Commission will respond to the $28 million budget cut leveled by Governor Patrick in October. While the governor had intended to fund the cut with a three-tiered insurance premium system for active employees (not retirees/survivors), the Legislature has yet to take up the matter. It is unclear whether or not the 13-member Commission will turn to increases in copayments and deductibles as an alternative. Association Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel and Insurance Coordinator Cheryl Stillman will be present at Friday’s meeting.
The Association is also closely monitoring how the federal government reacts to the ongoing financial crisis. Of concern is what impact the economic downturn will have on the Commonwealth and how state and local tax revenues may be affected.
“Right now there is a lot of uncertainty over when our economy will bounce back. Thankfully our defined benefit pension plans are secure and built to withstand the down market. But long term, our concern is what will happen as tax revenues fall off and the impact that will have on the state and local budgets,” said Association President Ralph White. “Our Association is following the developments in Washington and here in Boston very closely. We are also here to answer any questions or concerns that members may have.”