COLA Base Study Underway

- Initial "Summit Meeting" Held - While the $12,000 COLA base will remain in effect for this coming
July's COLA, the second step toward a higher future base was taken on
October 28.

At that time, Joe
Connarton, director of the Public Employee Retirement Administration
Commission (PERAC), convened an initial meeting to seek input on
carrying out the Legislature's mandate (1st step) for PERAC to file a
report on the actuarial liabilities of a higher base and make
recommendations to the Legislature prior to December 31, 2005.

at the meeting were PERAC actuaries, public retirement officials and
Association leaders. Everyone attending agreed on the need for a higher
base. Also, everyone agreed that the challenge would be to find
alternative options of implementing a higher base, and yet stay within
reasonable parameters of our state's pension funding schedule, which
includes amortization of our unfunded liability.

recommendation from PERAC to the Legislature for a higher base would be
fruitless, unless the recommendation includes a fiscal formula that is
acceptable to the House and Senate," said Association Legislative
Liaison Shawn Duhamel. "It was a beneficial meeting at PERAC, in that
it was the first time such a meeting under a legislative mandate had
ever been held."

"They (Legislature)
want to help us, but first we have to help them," said Ralph White.
"PERAC's actuaries will be looking at every possible formula. It would
then be up to us to decide which formula we feel has a chance for
passage in the Legislature. We're not going to chase windmills. A lot
hinges on what PERAC might recommend."