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LISTON NAMED TO TEACHERS’ RETIREMENT BOARD

LISTON NAMED TO TEACHERS’ RETIREMENT BOARD

Seven-Member Board Now Complete

FEBRUARY 29, 2012: Richard Liston, a retired Everett special education teacher has been named to fill an opening as the seventh member of the Teachers’ Retirement Board, the Commonwealth’s only seven-member Board.

Liston was voted to that seat for a four-year term by the first six members of the Board after interviewing five finalists over the past month. The seat had been previously held by Linda Ruberto, a retired Pittsfield teacher, who declined a new term after 20 years on the Board.

The elderly should share the burden

By Robert J. Samuelson
Washington Post

One hallmark of the Obama administration’s budget policy has been to exempt the elderly from major cuts, even though spending on the elderly — mainly through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — represents 40 percent or more of the budget. The main reason is political: The elderly (it’s presumed) would vote against politicians who would cut their benefits. But to justify the policy, politicians and others often portray the elderly as financially vulnerable with scant savings.

ASSOCIATION PEC DESIGNEES ATTEND MUNICIPAL HEALTH FORUM

ASSOCIATION PEC DESIGNEES ATTEND MUNICIPAL HEALTH FORUM

Focus On New Municipal Insurance Law

FEBRUARY 14, 2012: Association members were among the over 200 attendees at a recent forum on the new Municipal Health Insurance (MHI) law, that was held at Boston Fire Local 718’s Florian Hall in Dorchester. They gathered together as the retiree designees on the Public Employee Committee (PEC) for their community or school district.

Annual Insurance Hearing Draws Retirees

Annual Insurance Hearing Draws Retirees

FEBRUARY 1, 2012: Over 100 employees and retirees attended today’s annual public hearing of the Commonwealth’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) held in Minihan Hall at the Lindemann Center.

Dolores Mitchell, Executive Director of the GIC, presented an extensive update of all commission activities and an estimated projection of future needs and costs.

Mitchell started by pointing out that the Commonwealth could be under some pressure from the added costs of Federal health care reform.

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says unfunded retiree health care liability is growing for towns and cities

SPRINGFIELD – This city has $761.6 million in unfunded liabilities for municipal retiree health benefits, which works out to more than $12,000 in unfunded liabilities per single-family home.

Holyoke has $300 million in unfunded liabilities, working out to about $18,000 in unfunded liability per single-family home, or about 59 percent of Holyoke’s median household income, according to a study recently released by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

2011: DOWN YEAR FOR STATE PENSION FUND

JANUARY 25, 2012: Year 2011 was not a good year for the Commonwealth’s Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) Fund.

Data released at this month’s Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board meeting show that the $47.4 billion fund barely creeped into the black with an earnings of 0.26 last year.

After strongly recovering from a disastrous Year 2008 when the Fund lost -29.50% of its value, followed by earnings of 17.06% in Year 2009 and 13.56% in Year 2010, the Fund was a victim of the worldwide market slump last year.

ESSEX BOARD NOW COMPLETE

ESSEX BOARD NOW COMPLETE

PERAC Approves Vincent Malgeri as 5th Member

JANUARY 23, 2012: Today, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) approved the fifth and final member of the Essex Regional (County) Retirement Board.

MASS. TAXPAYERS FOUNDATION: UNTIMELY ASSAULT ON MUNICIPAL HEALTH COSTS

MASS. TAXPAYERS FOUNDATION: UNTIMELY ASSAULT ON MUNICIPAL HEALTH COSTS

JANUARY 13, 2012: Yesterday, January 12th the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) under its ubiquitous leader Michael Widmer unleashed an untimely attack on municipal health insurance costs.

A brief summary of the report was included in today’s Boston Globe, including a response by Shawn Duhamel, Legislative Liaison of our Association and Ed Kelly, President of the Professional Firefighters Union.

Huge retirement shortfall in cities reported

Group is alarmed by benefit funding

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff  
January 13, 2012

A Beacon Hill watchdog group has released a report indicating that steep cuts to education and other public services are inevitable in 10 of the state’s most cash-strapped cities to fund the rising cost of health care for their municipal retirees, unless the Legislature makes changes.

ACTION AT THE TEACHERS’ BOARD

ACTION AT THE TEACHERS’ BOARD

2 New Members and a 3rd Scheduled

UPDATED: JANUARY 13, 2012: There’s been action aplenty over the past two months at the seven-member Teachers’ Retirement Board.

A December election has seen incumbent Karen Mitchell top a five candidate field in winning a second four-year term on the Board.

Finishing second and also winning a four-year term on the Board was Dennis Naughton, a retired 38-year Millis teacher.

KERRY FILES WEP/GPO REPEAL BILL

KERRY FILES WEP/GPO REPEAL BILL

Takes Lead In Senate With Maine’s Collins

JANUARY 10, 2012: Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has filed legislation calling for the full repeal of the dreaded Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). S2010, cosponsored by Republican Susan Collins of Maine, places Kerry in a leading role on the issue of Social Security fairness.

The big squeeze

It has been more than three decades since Proposition 2½ became the law of the land here in the commonwealth, but there is no question that the last few years have been the hardest on municipalities. A combination of shrinking revenue on the federal, state, and local levels has met up with a near-record growth in the costs of health care and pension funds. The result is a bleak present and, in all likelihood, a dimmer foreseeable future.

Health agency names 5 ‘Pioneer’ accountable care organizations in Mass.

Boston Globe

December 20, 2011

Massachusetts is set once again to become a testing ground for a major federal effort to overhaul the health care industry.

Five of the 32 hospital systems and physician groups that will become “pioneers” in a program to change how doctors are paid for the care they provide Medicare patients are from eastern Massachusetts. Starting Jan. 1, the federal program will give them a budget to care for their more than 150,000 patients, rather than a payment for each test or treatment.

MORE MUNICIPALITIES EYE INSURANCE CHANGES

Heavy Activity on Cape Cod, South Shore and Nashoba Valley

DECEMBER 19, 2011: As 2012 approaches, the number of municipalities eyeing changes to their local health insurance plans is rapidly growing. In the past two weeks alone, the Association has had requests from 18 separate local entities seeking a retiree representative to the local Public Employee Committee (PEC).

Fiscal woes at peak for towns

HOLLISTON - The problem

Thanks to a flagging economy, the last two years have been the most financially difficult for Bay State towns and cities in 30 years, according to a report by the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Statewide, municipal budgets grew by a combined 1.2 percent in fiscal 2010 and 2011, a new two-year low, the report said. Property taxes increased 3.8 percent statewide last fiscal year, the smallest one-year increase since Proposition 2½ began capping property tax increases in 1982.

Municipal budgets most stressed since ’80, report says

Boston Globe

State aid cuts, lack of growth are cited

December 7 2011: Cash-strapped cities and towns across Massachusetts are struggling with the worst stress on their budgets since passage of Proposition 2 1/2 in 1980, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

STATE & TEACHER PENSIONS NOW AVAILABLE FOR ALL TO SEE

DECEMBER 6, 2012: If you are a retired state employee or teacher, the amount of your pension and former agency or workplace is now on the state-run “Open Checkbook” website available to anyone with a computer.

Many Workers in Public Sector Retiring Sooner

NT Times

MADISON, Wis. — As states and cities struggle to resolve paralyzing budget shortfalls by sending workers on unpaid furloughs, freezing salaries and extracting larger contributions for health benefits and pensions, a growing number of public-sector workers are finding fewer reasons to stay.

MEMBERS CAN RENEW 2012 DUES ONLINE

Member Management System Launched

NOVEMBER 28, 2011: For the convenience of our members, the Association is pleased to now offer the option for members to renew their annual Association dues online through a secure website portal. Members wishing to utilize this new feature should click here to proceed.

Many healthy returns

Boston Herald

Back when Beacon Hill was considering reforms to the way cities and towns design health plans for their workers, we were warned by public employee unions that the end of the world was nigh. Turns out, not so much.

RETIREMENT BOARD MEMBER RECEIVED MAYOR'S PROCLAMATION ON MONTH PRIOR TO DEATH

RETIREMENT BOARD MEMBER RECEIVED MAYOR'S PROCLAMATION ON MONTH PRIOR TO DEATH

NOVEMBER 27, 2011: On October 28, 2011, Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday proclaimed Franklin J.( Buddy) Spaulding Day in the City of Newburyport. The proclamation was issued in recognition of Buddy’s 26 years of service on the Newburyport Retirement Board.  The proclamation was issued just one month prior to his death on November 23, 2011.

PENSION REFORM III NOW LAW

Chapter 176 Marks Sweeping Change

NOVEMBER 21, 2011:  As expected, late last Friday, November 18, Governor Deval Patrick signed Pension Reform III into law as Chapter 176, Acts of 2011.

The measure, which had been enacted in the House and Senate three days earlier, creates a new retirement plan for new employees of our 105 retirement systems, hired on or after next April 2nd.

Rhode Island adopts sweeping changes to pension system

PROVIDENCE - Despite jeers and the threat of a union lawsuit, Rhode Island lawmakers approved extensive changes yesterday to one of the nation’s most underfunded public pension systems.

The state’s heavily Democratic General Assembly defied its traditional union allies to pass the landmark changes.

NEW PENSION LAW ADOPTED

Effective For New Hires Beginning Next April

NOVEMBER 15, 2011: Pension Reform III (S2065) is now on the verge of becoming law. By a vote of 27-10 in the Senate and 152-0 in the House, today the Legislature enacted a change in the Commonwealth’s public retirement law that will place new employees in a “second tier” retirement plan.

Effective next April 2, all new hires within our state’s 105 retirement systems will close the door on early retirement and require most workers to stay in the system until age 67 in order to reach a full pension.

Lawmakers approve Mass. pension bill

Boston Globe

BOSTON—The Massachusetts Legislature has approved an overhaul of the state's pension system that would raise the minimum retirement age for future state employees to 60.

The compromise bill was accepted Tuesday by the Senate on a 27-10 vote and later on a 149-0 vote in the House.