July 2007

WIDESPREAD ACCEPTANCE OF VETS STIPEND

2007 JULY - Seventy-Eight Systems Implement Entire Law - It’s been 18 months since the local option law, Chapter 157, was enacted, that allows local retirement systems to finally allow their accidental (work related) disability retirees, who are veterans, to receive the same vets stipend, up to $300 annually, that superannuation retirees have long received. As for the state and teachers’ retirement systems, their accidental disability retirees are receiving the same vets stipend under a separate law – Chapter 161.

TOP PATRICK AIDE WELL KNOWN TO RETIREES

2007 JULY - Rubin Had Been Deputy Treasurer - Shortly after going to press with the May edition of the Voice, Governor Deval Patrick shuffled the deck in his inner circle by replacing Joan Wallace-Benjamin with Doug Rubin as his chief of staff.
Rubin, who had been the new governor’s top political advisor during the 2006 campaign, previously served as the state’s first deputy treasurer from 2003-2006. As the first assistant to Treasurer Tim Cahill, Rubin worked closely with the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board and the State Retirement Board.

STATE PENSION FUND SEEKS LOCAL INVESTMENTS

2007 JULY - ETI Policy Includes Real Estate - Ever since the Commonwealth’s pension fund (PRIT) adopted an Economically Targeted Investment (ETI) policy in 2003, the program has steadily grown, especially in the area of real estate.

SPRING MEETING IN LEOMINSTER

Members, from the Fitchburg, Leominster and the surrounding areas, filled the room to capacity to hear and meet with Association officers at the recent spring meeting in that region. “They come to Leominster to get the latest news, see old friends and have their questions answered in person,” comments Association Conference Planner Leo Delaney. “Like many Association events throughout the state, this meeting has become extremely popular as you can see by this overflow crowd.”

SALEM MAYOR NAMES HERSELF TO RETIREMENT BOARD

In an unusual, but not unprecedented move, Mayor Kim Driscoll of Salem has appointed herself to the Salem Retirement Board.

PROFILE MALDEN RETIREMENT BOARD

2007 JULY - When we first visited the Malden Retirement Board in 1995, it was during the days of three-member boards, before landmark “pension reform” legislation took hold a year later.

NARROW WIN FOR GLOUCESTERS RETIRED TEACHERS

2007 JULY - Over 100 retired Gloucester teachers, plus a few still teaching, packed the City Hall auditorium on May 2nd to oppose a proposal to pull the city’s retired teachers out of the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) insurance plan and place them in the same plan as Gloucester’s other employees and retirees.

MORE NEWS ABOUT MANDATORY MEDICARE

2007 JULY - Added Safeguards Under Coalition Bargaining - While there is a trend among cities and towns toward adopting mandatory Medicare, not all communities fit the same pattern when it comes to this issue. “We expect to see a marked increase in the number of communities accepting the local option law (Section 18, Chapter 32B) which mandates that local retirees, who are eligible for Medicare, enroll in that program,” according to Insurance Coordinator Cheryl Stillman.

MIDDLEBORO RETIREES ORGANIZING LOCALLY

2007 JULY - As communities focus more and more on paying for health insurance, local retirees have been organizing to better defend against attempts to reduce their benefits or shift costs onto them. This is not an entirely new phenomenon, since there are examples of municipal retiree groups, with a long and productive history, such as in Newton, Plymouth and Attleboro.

CLINTON TOPPED STATE IN '06

2007 JULY - Pension Fund Investments Earned 18.09% - According to data recently released by the Public
Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC), the Clinton Retirement
Board had the highest pension fund investment return among our state's 106
retirement systems in year 2006.