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Increased State & Teacher COLA Base Considered

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011: House leaders are eyeing mid-October to begin debate on the latest proposal to further reform the state's defined benefit pension plan. Earlier this month the Senate overwhelmingly passed S2018, which would bring about major changes to retirement benefits of employees hired after January 1, 2012.

Some reform is better than none at all

Newburyport News Editorial

Bottom line for the pension reform bill currently before the Legislature: Since changes would affect only those hired into government service after Jan. 1, 2012, anyone offered employment with the state who felt they could get a better deal elsewhere would be free to turn the job down.



Special Recognition to 10th Anniversary of 9/11

SEPTEMBER 20, 2011: With the nation preparing to recognize the 10th anniversary of 9/11, two days prior to that date our Association's 43rd Annual Meeting, over 500 members gathered on September 9th and in our own way, we opened the meeting with a remembrance of that never-to-be forgotten day.

Don't add to pension problem by upping cost-of-living raises

Boston Globe Editorial

MASSACHUSETTS NEEDS another round of public-pension reforms. Though Beacon Hill has made progress in curbing the worst abuses of the system, public-pension systems still have billions of dollars more in liabilities than they have money to pay for them. Bond rating agencies have made it clear that unless Beacon Hill comes to grips with the problem, the Commonwealth's ability to borrow money will suffer. And while the bill that cleared the Senate Thursday will help in several important ways, it also exacerbates the problem in others.



State/Teacher COLA Fight Shifts To House

SEPTEMBER 16, 2011: Yesterday, the State Senate passed its version of Pension Reform (S2010), closely resembling Governor Patrick's reform legislation, which he filed with the Legislature this past spring.

Foundation Urges Passage of Meaningful Pension Reforms

Mass Taxpayers Foundation Report

In a presentation to PERAC's Emerging Issues Forum and a letter to state senators, the Foundation highlights the urgency of passing legislation to reform the pension system for state and municipal employees.

Wisconsin Parallels Seen In Local Health Care Fight

Wisconsin Parallels Seen In Local Health Care Fight

Retirees Must Have Voice In Process

The battle, now being waged in Wisconsin over the rights of public employees to collectively bargain, should come as no surprise to Association members. As we have been reporting for some time, there is a growing national movement to reduce and alter the health care and defined benefit pensions of public employees and retirees.

Unions may cede bargain power here

Gov. Deval Patrick -- who this week appeared before throngs of union protesters in a show of support for public unions in Wisconsin -- has proposed legislation that will ask public unions here to cede some bargaining leverage to save cities and towns millions of dollars in health insurance costs, the MetroWest Daily News reports.

Tackling health costs requires coordinated effort

EDITORIAL  Gov. Deval Patrick has set the ambitious goal of reducing by $1 billion the projected health care expenditures in the next fiscal year. While there is reason to doubt whether he’ll be able to meet that target, he has followed up with concrete proposals.

GateHouse News Service Posted Feb 23, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Pension Reform Legislation Filed By Governor Deval Patrick

Pension Reform Legislation Filed By Governor Deval Patrick

Eliminates Early Retirement For Many

FEBRUARY 17, 2011: Governor Deval Patrick has filed legislation, HB35, which creates a new retirement formula for state and local government employees hired after July 1, 2011. At this time the Governor has strong support for reform by both the House and Senate Leaders.

Among a number of changes in our current statute, the Group 1 pension formula, which includes the vast majority of public employees, does not allow retirement until age 60 and changes the 80% maximum formula age from 65 to 67.

Wage War: Government Employees vs. Everybody Else

Public Sector Protesters in Wisconsin Face a Backlash, But Are State Workers Really Overpaid?

Are public workers overpaid? Are their entitlements too cushy, their retirements too rich? How do they compare in overall compensation with their private sector peers?

Bad pension policies should not be grandfathered

EDITORIAL — Lawmakers like to hold up their pension reform measures like they’ve bagged a trophy buck but the persistence of embarrassing tales of retirement bonanzas make their efforts seem less like heroic encounters and more like a game of Whac-A-Mole.

Residents face $20b retiree health tab

Study finds most cities, towns don't put enough aside

Massachusetts residents face potentially devastating tax increases in the coming years to pay health insurance benefits for retired police, firefighters, and other municipal employees, according to a new study that finds the 50 largest cities and towns alone face a retiree health care bill of $20 billion over the next 30 years.

By Sean P. Murphy Globe Staff / February 16, 2011

GIC Unveils Plan To Save $100 Million

Health Fairs Focus On Employee Reenrollment

FEBRUARY 14, 2011: The state's Group Insurance Commission has put plans in place that, if successful, are expected to save the Commonwealth upwards of $100 million for FY12, beginning on July 1, 2011. Under the plan, active state employees, enrolled in one of six limited network low-cost plans offered by the GIC for the coming year will receive free coverage for three months - a so-called "Premium Holiday."

Deck Shuffled For Legislative Leaders

House and Senate Committees Take Shape

February 4, 2011: Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo have each shuffled the deck with a realignment of their respective leadership teams for the new 2011-2012 Legislative Session. Of direct importance to public retirees are the Joint Committee on Public Service, as well as the respective House and Senate Ways and Means Committees.

Governor Proposes Pension Reform III

Would Not Impact Current Retirees

JANUARY 19, 2011: Following on the heels of two previous pension reform packages, Governor Deval Patrick has filed new legislation dubbed "Pension Reform III" that seeks to make the most sweeping changes to our defined benefit pension since the modern program was created generations ago. Members should note that none of the proposals in the bill would have any impact on current retirees, or, for the most part, today's active employees.

New Legislative Session Begins

Bill Filing Underway

JANUARY 4, 2011: Following on the heels of the 112th Congress, which was sworn into office on Monday, the Massachusetts Great and General Court begins its 2011-2012 session on Wednesday. With the lingering effect of the recession continuing to hamper economic growth, the 160 member House and 40 member Senate will surely have their work cut out.

Keating Our Choice In 10Th

Keating Our Choice In 10Th

NOVEMBER 2010 VOICE: It is not often that our Association becomes involved in a Congressional race. However, because of what is at stake in the 10th Congressional District, the distinction between the two candidates presents such a stark contrast to our Association's values that is newsworthy to all members. Also, because of what is at stake in this race, it has drawn national attention and this nationwide media spotlight will shine even brighter as November 2 approaches.

Somerville Board Fails Retirees

Also Leominster & Arlington

JULY 30, 2010: Despite the urging of Somerville Retirement Board member Jack Memory, that city's Retirement Board failed to take action on a 3% July COLA and, as a result, the retired members of the Somerville Retirement System, by "default,"  have lost this fiscal year's COLA.

"The Board never put a COLA vote on its agenda, never put it on the table. It's inexcusable," says Association President Ralph White. "It's too late now. The window of opportunity is gone."

Essex Board: Recover Ahead

Essex Board: Recover Ahead

Hanlon Is New Member

JULY 14, 2010 (Updated): As the Essex Regional Retirement Board moves toward recovery under a well-publicized overhaul, a State House regular, Mike Hanlon, has been named as the Board's fifth member.

Hanlon, a state retiree who ran the Commonwealth's Deferred Compensation Plan under former treasurer Shannon O'Brien, had earlier worked for the City of Boston and Middlesex County. He is currently the executive director of the Mass. Collectors and Treasurers Association.

Busy Election Year Ahead

Two Candidates Meet Members

Association leaders combined a membership meeting with a political rally at a brunch at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth on June 25th.

The political side of the gathering of 250 members was in recognition of our Association's endorsement of Bill Keating, candidate for U.S. Representative of the 10th Congressional District, and Steve Grossman candidate for Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts.

In introducing Keating, currently the outgoing District Attorney of Norfolk County, Association President Ralph White pointed out that when

CVS Carmark, Walgreen Settle Dispute

10,000 GIC Enrollees Relieved

JUNE 22, 2010: Officials with CVS Caremark and Walgreen have announced a compromise that will avert a near crisis in which Walgreen would have no longer filled prescriptions covered by CVS Caremark's pharmacy benefits management  (PBM) service. The corporate battle between the country's two largest pharmacies heated up in early June over reimbursement rates paid by CVS.

Association Endorses Steve Grossman For State Treasurer

Association Endorses Steve Grossman For State Treasurer

Our Association Executive Board has announced the unanimous vote of endorsement on behalf of Steve Grossman for the office of Treasurer of the Commonwealth, both in September's Democratic Primary Election and in the November General Election.

CVS Caremark: Get Used To The Name

CVS Caremark: Get Used To The Name

The older we get the less we like change. However, retirees insured by the Commonwealth's Group Insurance Commission's Unicare plans are assured by the GIC that the change from Express Scripts to CVS Caremark, as their prescription drug provider, will be relatively painless.

In other words, folks; get used to it. In the world of major insurance contracts, including prescription drugs, change does happen. Express Scripts has had a nice run of ten years, since taking over the contract from Merck-Medco in July 2000.

Annual Greater Boston Luncheon

Annual Greater Boston Luncheon

June 18 In Dedham: Reserve Tickets Now

Our Annual Spring Luncheon will be held at the Holiday Inn, Route 1, Dedham on Friday, June 18, 2010, 12:00 noon. The Spring Luncheon is always a sellout. Please make your reservations early. All reservations must be made in advance by writing or phoning our Association office at (617) 723-7283. Members are welcome to bring along guests.

The Holiday Inn is location at the junction of Routes 1 and 128. If travelling either north or south on Rt. 128, take Dedham Exit 15A.