January 2007

TREASURER CAHILL ANNOUNCES 2007 MAILING DATES FOR STATE/TEACHER PENSION CHECKS

JAN 2007 - Mailing dates of State Retirement Board and Teachers’ pension checks for calendar year 2007 have been announced by State Treasurer Tim Cahill. Direct deposit dates for those members, who have chosen to utilize that service through the Treasurer’s New England Automated Clearing House, are also included.

UPDATE: MANDATORY MEDICARE

JAN 2007 - Duxbury Awaits Weston Decision - Earlier this year, we reported that Duxbury officials postponed a vote on mandatory Medicare (Section 18) until this fall. If Section 18 is accepted by a town, then its retirees and survivors, who are Medicare eligible, will be forced to enroll in Parts A and B and a supplement plan provided by it.

NEW ASSOCIATION DESIGNEE ON FRAMINGHAM COALITION BARGAINING COMMITTEE

JAN 2007 - Over 13 years ago, Framingham became the second municipality to adopt the coalition bargaining law (Section 19), with Lexington being the first. “We’re pleased to report that coalition bargaining is operating smoothly in Framingham, and will continue to do so,” according to Associations Insurance Coordinator Cheryl Stillman.

2007-2008 LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM

JAN 2007 - Strengthening Benefits For Public Retirees - Led by its chairman, Bill Hill, the Association’s Legislative Committee has filed the following 18 pieces of legislation for the 2007-2008 Session of the Massachusetts Legislature. As an integral part of the process, the Committee has obtained the commitment of several key legislators, from both the House and Senate, as sponsors of our bills.

“With this program, we’ve sought to address the major issues currently affecting public retirement,” according to Hill. “It’s a comprehensive approach, offering sensible solutions.”

You will find below a brief summary of the bills, each contained within the appropriate subject matter heading. The complete listing of bill numbers and sponsors will be included in the March edition of the Voice. Editor’s Note: Please be aware that this listing marks the very beginning of the legislative process for the bills outlined  below. There will be a public hearing on each bill during the upcoming months, after which time further action can be considered.

ROMNEY SHORTS RETIREES ON LIFE INSURANCE

JAN 2007 - Appointees Oppose Benefit Increase - In what can only be viewed as a backhanded dismissal of retirees, Governor Mitt Romney has allowed his hand-picked appointees to the state’s Group Insurance Commission, to vote down a plan that would have increased the basic life insurance for state retirees.

RECENT ACTUARIAL VALUATIONS: Suburban Melrose, Rural Montague Retirement Systems

JAN 2007 - Periodically, usually every three years, each retirement system is required to undergo an actuarial valuation of their retirement system. This valuation is done by an actuary of the board’s choosing or by PERAC’s actuarial unit headed by Jim Lamenzo.

 

OPTIMISM HIGH FOR NEW SESSION

JAN 2007 - Bills Receive BiPartisan Support - Change will take place on Beacon Hill come January 4, when Deval Patrick is sworn in as the Commonwealth’s new governor. Along with a new chief executive comes a new administration, with a different focus than the outgoing Republican administration.

ASSOCIATION PIONEERED EARLIER IMPROVEMENTS

JAN 2007 - “One advantage I have is a lengthy institutional memory and
I’d like to share that with our members in regard to group life insurance. I
believe it’s relevant when we compare the GIC Commissioners of 35 years ago to
what they are today,” offered President Ralph White.

STATE PROPERTY TAX RELIEF: AN OVERVIEW FOR RETIREES

Jan 2007 - During the recent election,
candidates spoke out against higher property taxes forcing retirees out of
their homes. That criticism begs the question: what is being done right now to
provide tax relief.

RETIREMENT SYSTEM DEFENSE MOUNTS

JAN 2007 - Report Rebuffs Pioneer Attack - The top priority at the fall
conference of the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems (MACRS)
was the same as that of the spring conference: Put a halt to the negative
attacks on our state’s 106 retirement systems.