November 2003

Beverly Is Last Board To Vote COLA

NOVEMBER 2003 - Beverly's Retirement Board voted on July 31 to pay a three-percent COLA to its retirees. The vote was retroactive to July 1.

vote by the Beverly Board brought the total number of boards that voted
for 3% to 101 of 106 boards. As reported earlier, four Boards -
Easthampton, North Attleboro, Gardner and Peabody voted for 1.4% COLAs,
and Somerville voted for a 2.5% COLA.

Spousal Benefit: Employees Win First Round But Wait Continues For A Final Decision

- Association Takes On Fight For Member's Spouse - Employees, who have been denied the right to retire under the spousal
benefit provision because of the law's repeal this past July, have won
the first battle. But unfortunately, final victory cannot yet be
declared, as members, along with their spouses who are affected by the
repeal, must continue to wait for a decision from the state's appeal

Association Mounts Pressure On Congress

- Day in and day out, the Association receives scores of calls, letters
and emails from members who are adversely affected by Social Security's
so-called "anti-double dipping" laws. Many members relate stories as to
the negative impact these federal laws have had on their lives.

Washington Lobbying Increases GPO/WEP Message Gets Through

NOVEMBER 1, 2003 - Members
who have recently taken the time to contact their US Congressmen and
Senators to ask for their support in the Association’s efforts to
repeal the dreaded GPO/WEP laws will be pleased to hear that their
efforts are paying off.

Feds Move To Block Drug Imports

- Springfield/Pittsfield Look To Canada - They had hoped to save their cities millions of dollars a year by
purchasing prescription drugs from Canada, but officials in Springfield
and Pittsfield may have to develop a new strategy to cut the rising
cost of prescription drugs.

Easier Route For Local Retirees

- Legislature Changes Insurance Law - Members, who have retired from one of the twenty-six towns or seven
school districts which do not contribute towards retirees' health
insurance coverage, may now find it easier to get the community to
contribute towards their insurance.

Lynnfield Retired Teachers Oppose Insurance Change

NOVEMBER 2003 - Association Joins In Local Effort - Lynnfield
retired teachers have rallied together to oppose a controversial
proposal before their board of selectmen, to drop the insurance plan
that they now have with the state's Group Insurance Commission (GIC).
In place of the current plan, the proposal would switch these retirees
to the town's insurance plan (Blue Cross/Blue Shield - Medex 3)
purchased through the MIIA (Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance

GIC's Reimbursement Letter Misleads Many

- Full Medicare Premium Paid By Members - Members, who are insured under the state's Group Insurance Commission
and also enrolled in Medicare, received a check from the state
indicating it was a partial reimbursement for Medicare Part B. Having
read the GIC's notice accompanying the check, these members were left
with the general impression that they were receiving a reimbursement on
the money withheld from their Social Security check to pay Part B.

Legislative Hearings Underway

- Committee Targets GIC Practices - After a short summer recess, state Legislators began their fall work
in earnest beginning in early September. Key to Association members is
the work being conducted by the Joint Committee on Public Service,
before which all public retirement legislation is reviewed.

Romney Attacks State's Pension Plan

- Will Seek Change In January - Governor Mitt Romney has revived his plan to overhaul the
Commonwealth's public pension formula, this time using former UMass
President William Bulger's pension as a Trojan Horse.