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Middleborough Retirees Get Their Day In Court

Middleborough Retirees Get Their Day In Court

Argue Before State’s Highest Court

February 5, 2014: For more than 6 years, we’ve been reporting on the activities of the Middleborough Retiree Insurance Group (MRIG) which organized back in ’07. “Our Association has a tradition of working with local retiree groups, particularly on the issues of municipal health insurance and local pension COLAs (Cost-of-Living Adjustments),” according to President Valeri. “That relationship includes Middleboro.

Association Meets With Federal Officials

Association Meets With Federal Officials

Social Security & Medicare Central Issues

FEBRUARY 1, 2014: This past week Association President Frank Valeri and Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel met with members of the Massachusetts’ Congressional Delegation in Washington, DC.

Valeri and Duhamel were in the nation’s capital to attend the annual legislative conference of the National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS), to which the Association belongs. They met with the offices of all nine members of Congress, as well as Senior Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Mass. pension fund posts 15.2% gain for ’13

Managers add $7.9 billion to accounts, with biggest increases coming from US stocks

By Beth Healy
Globe Staff  
January 22, 2014

The Massachusetts state pension fund posted a 15.2 percent investment gain for 2013, as strong markets helped the fund’s managers add $7.9 billion to the retirement accounts of public employees.

US stocks provided the biggest boost to the fund, climbing 33.7 percent during the year, followed by investments in private equity, which rose 21.1 percent.

Gov. Patrick Files Final Budget Proposal

Includes 3% COLA & Funding Schedule Changes

JANUARY 22, 2014: Within the final budget proposal of his eight-year tenure as governor, Deval Patrick chose to include two provisions of critical long term importance to public retirees and surviving spouses.

As he has consistently done in the past, the governor has recommended a full 3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for state and teacher retirees who retired before July 1, 2013. Like 2013, the new COLA will be paid on a base of $13,000.

Aggressive Start to 2014

Public Service Committee Meets

JANUARY 2, 2014: The Joint Committee on Public Service is off to an aggressive start early in 2014 with a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, January 7th at 11:00 AM.

Tuesday’s hearing will focus on legislation impacting group classification of active employees. As members know, Massachusetts’ public retirement is organized into four groups (1-4), which are set in statute by the legislature.

Ralph White Reelected in Landslide

New 3-Year Term On State Retirement Board

DECEMBER 10, 2013: The Association’s Ralph White has been reelected to a new 3-year term on the State Retirement Board. White topped the ticket in a landslide, winning by more than 11,000 votes.

He received 79% of the total votes cast by the members of the State Retirement System. White has served on the Board since 1996.

Judge Approves Detroit Pension Cuts

Situation In Mass. Vastly Different

DECEMBER 4, 2013: A federal bankruptcy judge has granted approval for the City of Detroit to move forward with its bankruptcy protection plan – a plan that will include cuts to the pensions of existing city retirees and future benefits of active employees.

Massachusetts Joins Institutional Carbon Clash

Massachusetts Joins Institutional Carbon Clash

NOVEMBER 21, 2013: An article in today’s DCDB Daily Free E-Newsletter says that Massachusetts Treasurer and Receiver General Steve Grossman, Chairman of the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board, manager of the state’s more than $54 billion Pension Reserve Investment Trust (PRIT), has lodged support for mission-based investing focused on climate change.

Following Packed Hearing H59 Under Review

Following Packed Hearing H59 Under Review

2013 Legislative Session Winds Down

NOVEMBER 12, 2013: Hundreds of public employees from across all walks of state and local government made their concerns known at a packed public hearing on retiree healthcare reform on October 31st.

The hearing, on H59, was held before the Joint Committee on Public Service. Chaired by Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End), the Public Service Committee is now conducting a thorough review of the bill.

FEDS ANNOUNCE 2014 CPI: 1.5%

No Increase For Medicare Part B Premium

OCTOBER 30, 2013: Today, the Social Security Administration announced that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous 12 months (September ’12 to Oct ’13) is 1.5%. The announcement follows recent reports by the Federal Reserve detailing historically low inflation.

RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM REENTERS SPOTLIGHT

Public Hearing on H59 Thursday

OCTOBER 28, 2013: Arguably the biggest issue to come before the legislature during the current two-year session reenters center stage on Beacon Hill this week, when H59, the much watched Retiree Healthcare Reform proposal, receives a public hearing.

DISABILITY BILL HEARING TUESDAY

Healthcare Reform Set For Halloween

OCTOBER 18, 2013: On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Public Service will conduct a public hearing that includes legislation filed by the Association relative to disability retirement.

The bills, filed on our behalf by Representative Tacky Chan (D-Quincy), propose to improve the ordinary disability benefit for future retirees, as well as alter the oversight of disability retirees.

HEALTH EXCHANGE KICKOFF: No Impact On Current Insurance Plans

OCTOBER 1, 2013: Today marks the nationwide kickoff of the new health insurance exchanges, the main component of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called Obamacare. Between now and December 15, individuals can sign up for one of the health insurance plans being offered through their state’s exchange, with insurance coverage

MACRS EXECUTIVE BOARD VOTES TO OPPOSE DIVESTITURE OF FOSSIL FUEL IN PENSION FUNDS

MACRS EXECUTIVE BOARD VOTES TO OPPOSE DIVESTITURE OF FOSSIL FUEL IN PENSION FUNDS

SEPTEMBER 13, 2013: Yesterday, the 18-member Executive Board of the Mass. Association of Contributory Retirement Systems (MACRS) unanimously voted to oppose legislation that would require the State’s Pension Fund Board (PRIM Board) to divest all holdings in the Fund, which include fossil fuel such as oil, gas and coal.

HAVERHILL CITY COUNCIL TABLES COLA BASE VOTE

Base Increase Opposed By Mayor Fiorentini

SEPTEMBER 11, 2013: Last night, the Haverhill City Council tabled a request by the Haverhill Retirement Board that would have raised the cost-of-living base for its retirees.

The initiative, voted 3-2 by the Retirement Board, would have increased the base amount, which is currently $12,000, by $1,000 per year for each of the next three years, capping at $15,000 in 2016.

ASSOCIATION ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT

ASSOCIATION ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT

Frank Valeri To Take Reins In December

SEPTEMBER 10, 2013: Beginning this December, our Association will have a new President.

In something of a surprise to many members, at last Friday’s Annual Meeting and biannual election, President Ralph White announced that he was not seeking election for a new two-year term.

STATE BOARD ELECTION UNDERWAY

White is Candidate

SEPTEMBER 9, 2013: Although no longer President of the Association, Ralph White will remain active in the public retirement arena.

His first chore is to win reelection to the State Board of Retirement for a new three-year term beginning in January. The election is now underway.

FALL LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS

Busy Schedule For Public Service Committee

SEPTEMBER 5, 2013: With the summer recess now in the rearview mirror, the state Legislature has returned to Beacon Hill with an aggressive fall agenda.

On Tuesday, September 10th, the Joint Committee on Public Service will reconvene with what is expected to be a lengthy public hearing in the State House’s Gardner Auditorium. Association officials will be on hand to testify on further increases to the COLA base (S1259 & S1263) and the Option B & C recalculation (H2235).

Annual Meeting Friday, September 6

Annual Meeting Friday, September 6

AUGUST 30, 2013: If you haven't already, mark your calendar for the Association's September 6 Annual Meeting - one week from today.

The meeting, once again held at The Lantana in Randolph, begins at 1:00 PM. Further information and directions can be found by clicking here.

SOCIAL SECURITY MARKS 78TH ANNIVERSARY

SOCIAL SECURITY MARKS 78TH ANNIVERSARY

AUGUST 14, 2013: On this day in 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, marking the beginning of one of the most successful social programs in world history. Arguably, few public policies have done more to bring about positive change in quality of life in than Social Security.

Prior to Social Security, millions of elderly Americans lived in dire poverty and squalor. While the fight to combat poverty remains some 78 years later, much improvement has been made in the overall health and lives of retired Americans.

HALLOWEEN HEARING SET FOR RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM

H59 Marks Largest Issue of 2013

AUGUST 7, 2013: The Joint Committee on Public Service has announced that on October 31, 2013 it will hold the long awaited public hearing on H59, Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to reform retiree healthcare benefits.

As members know, H59 largely reflects the findings of the 2012 Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare, on which our Association held a seat. Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel represented public retirees on the Commission.

FALL EYED FOR HEALTH REFORM HEARING

Public Service Weighing Association Proposals

JULY 26, 2013: September looks to be when the legislature will begin to actively consider H59, Governor Deval Patrick’s much anticipated Retiree Healthcare Reform proposal. As employees and retirees are well aware, the bill has been awaiting action before the Joint Committee on Public Service since filed by the governor in February.

ASSOCIATION BILLS ON PUBLIC SERVICE DOCKET

Next Hearing To Focus on Healthcare Proposals

JULY 19, 2013: With one remaining public hearing scheduled to take place prior to the legislature breaking for its summer recess, the Joint Committee on Public Service is set to review a host of Association proposals centering on retiree healthcare.

Slated to receive a public hearing on Tuesday, July 23, are four Association-backed bills that address improvements in healthcare benefits for retirees and survivors. They include:

PATRICK SIGNS FY14 BUDGET

3% State & Teacher COLA Approved

JULY 12, 2013: Governor Deval Patrick has approved the FY 14 3% COLA for state and teacher retirees. Eligible retirees and survivors (retired before 7/1/12) will receive the increase, which is set on a $13,000 base, in their July pension check.

The annual COLA for state and teacher retirees is contained within the state’s annual budget appropriation. It was first proposed by Patrick in January, and then unanimously endorsed by the House and Senate.

LEGISLATURE APPROVES 3% STATE/TEACHER COLA

Systems On Track For July Payment

JULY 1, 2013: The House and Senate approved a full 3% COLA on a $13,000 base for state and teacher retirees effective this July. Eligible retirees and survivors should receive the first payment in the July pension check, which is issued at the end of the month.