3% COLA For State & Teacher Retirees

Treasurer Goldberg to Include Payment in July Pensions

JULY 21, 2014: Following Governor Charlie Baker’s approval of the 3% COLA for state and teacher retirees, Treasurer Deb Goldberg saw to it that the 1st payment for FY16 will be included in the July pension check.

Since the budget was passed in early July and not signed into law until Friday, July 17th, there was some question whether or not the July payment would be possible. In years past, late budget approvals often led to COLA payments beginning in August, with retroactive coverage to July.

“I’d like to thank Treasurer Goldberg, along with the staffs of both the State and Teachers’ Retirement Systems for making sure the new COLA payments will begin in the July pension checks. With higher healthcare and food costs this summer, every little bit certainly helps,” says Association President Frank Valeri.

“Governor Baker and the Legislature also deserve a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ on behalf of our members. This year marks the 18th consecutive year of COLA payments to state and teacher retirees. Both Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg have played key roles in making sure COLAs have been paid. And we cannot forget that Governor Baker was involved in the creation of the COLA law (Chapter 17, Acts of 2015) back when he was Secretary of ANF in 1997 under Governor Bill Weld.

With the exception of the Leominster, all local retirees will receive a full 3% COLA on a base ranging from $12,000-$18,000. The COLA base is determined by each local retirement system, with the approval of the local legislative body and is largely dependent upon the funded status and fiscal health of the local pension system.

For the 6th consecutive year, the Leominster Retirement Board, in a 3-2 vote, refused any COLA payment whatsoever. Elected board members John Picone and John Perry made an impassioned plea for a COLA payment in FY16, but their call was outright rejected by City Comptroller John Richard, Treasurer David Laplante and appointed member Mark O’Donnell – all three are appointees of Mayor Dean Mazzarella.

Despite the fact the Leominster is near full funding, Richard continues to claim the retirement system cannot afford COLA payments – a claim flatly rejected by our Association, and a growing group of Leominster officials.