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Shrewsbury
Concord
Winthrop
BOARDS WHO REMAIN AT $12,000 BASE WITH FUNDED STATUS ABOVE 60%
RETIREMENT SYSTEM
Leominster Winchester Reading Framingham Braintree Holyoke Woburn Weymouth
PERCENTAGE FUNDED
VALUATION DATE
INVEST. RET. ASSUMP.
FY FUNDING COMPLETE
 2021
 2029
 2029
 2030
 2033
 2032
 2035
 2035
Marlborough
Marblehead
Brockton
Falmouth
Newburyport
83.9%
83.3%
82.5%
78.3%
75.9%
73.0%
70.7%
68.0%
65.8%
65.4%
64.4%
62.5%
62.5%
62.9%
61.3%
60.9%
1/1/16
1/1/15
1/1/16
1/1/15
1/1/15
1/1/15
1/1/15
1/1/16
1/1/16
1/1/16
1/1/16
1/1/16
1/1/16
1/1/16
1/1/16
1/1/16
SEPTEMBER 2017
7.500%
5.500%
7.000%
7.250%
7.500%
7.650%
7.500%
7.500%
7.500%
7.750%
8.000%
7.630%
7.500%
7.750%
7.500%
7.750%
2020
2030
2028
Looking Back To 1997
Boston City Council Approves COLA Law (Chapter 17)
Former President Ralph White (Center) With Council After Historic Vote
2027
Association’s leadership to attend City Council sessions and Town Meeting nights, in taking the lead in presenting the history of our COLA law and explaining why acceptance on behalf of this new law is fiscally solvent. “We gathered as many local retirees as well as retirement board members as possible at these hearings,” recalls former Association Pres- ident Ralph White. “In every instance, the Mass. Municipal Association was present with its local army of MMA members, to oppose our position as ‘raiders of the pension fund.’ The situations that arose, although unpleas- ant at times, were per- sonally challenging to me and actually welcomed, when compared to what we had endured at the State House to win Chapter 17’s enactment in the face of our oppo- nents.”
ham Retirement Board fought especially hard, but were rebuffed. Win- chester was another tough town where the ‘keep out’ sign was apparent. We filled Worcester City Hall with retirees, and its Retirement Board Chair wanted Council approval of bonding pension funds before accepting Ch.17.”
There are 19 other MA public retirement systems at the $12,000 COLA base below a 60% funded level. The other 69 systems are using a $13,000 or greater COLA base.
2038
2032
2033
White added that he received a personal lift when the Boston City Council unanimously accepted Chapter 17 and invited him to step to the stage for a photo shoot with them (see above). “That one unexpected scene made my day during what had been a long year,” he said.
COLA increase, with the exception of only two Boards who voted for less than the traditional 3% increase: Somerville with 2.5% on a $14,000 base and Wellesley who voted unanimously to grant 1.5% on $15,000. The retirees from all the other systems received 3% on at least the first $12,000 of their pensions.
COLA on a $12,000 base. “The Association’s posi- tion is that when the finan- cial strength of the system grows, then the Board should recognize that some of the growth and gains should be shared with the retirees and sur- vivors, not just totally dedicated towards that “holy grail” of fully funded status,” stated Frank Valeri. “While some systems may not be in a financial environment to increase the base at this time, there are others that we believe have achieved a level of funding that enables them to provide their members with an enhanced COLA (see funding chart above). It’s time for them to do the
2035
*Based on preliminary results of 1/16/17 PERAC Actuarial Valuation
White said, “Town Meetings were tough, especially to outsiders. Framingham (now a city) initially shot us down, a very unpleasant situation. Members of the Framing-
The final event that took place to set the stage for this year’s COLA increase happened in 2010 with Chapter 188, which allowed the local systems to increase the base to a higher amount. Almost concurrently, in 2011 the State and Teach- ers’ COLA base was increased to $13,000.
Since the 2010 law change to allow for a COLA base above the $12,000 level, 69 Boards have accepted a COLA base higher than the orig- inal $12,000 base. The State and Teachers’ remain at the $13,000 base and several have gone as high as $17,000 and $18,000 base. The remaining 35 boards,
COLA Base Increase
That brings us to July 1, 2017 when all retirement systems have granted a
5 voted for the standard 3%
right thing.”
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