Politics

Articles about Politics that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees.

Budget Nightmare Hits Home

MARCH 2003
- Retirees Weather Multi-Billion Dollar Deficit - In what is being described as the worst fiscal emergency since the
Great Depression of the 1930s, state officials are trying to cope with
a huge multi-million dollar deficit for the current fiscal year, while
bracing for what could amount to a $2-3 billion deficit next year.Over
the course of the last 18 months, state officials have been able to
balance the books by tapping nearly $2 billion from reserve accounts,
raising just over $1.1 billion in new taxes, and dramatically cutting
many state programs. Among those programs either cut or altered is the
elimination of the retirees’ 2003 Medicare Part B refund ($28.8
million), along with the extension of the Commonwealth’s pension
funding schedule ($100 million).

Layoffs Certain In Cites And Towns

MARCH 2003
- Governor Files New Municipal Early-Out - Even though an estimated 2,300 employees of local governments within
our state retired under early retirement incentive (ERI) programs last
year, it quickly became apparent that another such option was needed
again this year.

State Layoffs Continue Despite

MARCH 2003
- Last Year’s Early-Out Offer - A total of 4,575 state employees accepted the Commonwealth’s early
retirement incentive plan in 2002, well short of the hoped for 7,000
retirements.

Menton Appointed To CRAB

JANUARY 2003
- Will Rule On Pension Appeals - Retired Judge Paul Menton, who once chaired the Public Employee
Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC), has been appointed to the
state agency which rules on all pension disputes.Menton
was recently appointed, by Acting Governor Jane Swift, to the long
vacant position on the Contributory Retirement Appeals Board (CRAB).
The state's pension officials had called on Swift for over a year to
fill the position.

As one of three Board
members, Menton will be responsible for ruling on hundreds of
retirement appeals that are filed with CRAB each year. The cases range
from disputes over retirement calculations to disabilities.

The
other two members of CRAB are Joseph Martin, who is a deputy director
with the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, and
Assistant Attorney General Anthony Penski, who serves as chairman.

Former PERAC Chairman

The
CRAB appointment is yet another role that Menton has taken on in his
long career in public service. The former district court judge was an
FBI agent, state representative and counsel to the House of
Representatives, before being appointed to the bench by former Governor
Michael Dukakis.

Menton was chosen
in 1996 to be the chairman of the newly formed PERAC, which is the
state agency responsible for regulating the state's pension law. To
become chairman, Menton was chosen by the other six PERAC
Commissioners, who are, themselves, appointed by the governor and
auditor.

Although Menton resigned
after about a year as chairman, he did play a key role in the early
formation of the agency. This included looking outside of Massachusetts
to bring in former Executive Director Bob Stalnaker from Alaska.
Stalnaker resigned in 1999, due to personal reasons. Joe Connarton is
the current executive director.

Joe Connolly Is New Norfolk County Treasurer

JANUARY 2003
-After defeating two opponents in the September Democratic Primary,
Weymouth City Councilor Joe Connolly had no November opposition in
being elected to succeed Tim Cahill as Treasurer of Norfolk County for
a six-year term.As
Treasurer, Connolly will serve as chairman of the Norfolk County
Retirement Board, which oversees the retirement accounts of 6,600
employees and the pensions of 2,700 retirees and survivors, who are
members of the Norfolk County Retirement System. The system includes 19
towns, 21 authorities and districts, and the county itself.

Cahill Is New State Treasurer

JANUARY 2003 - Has Major Pension Duties - Norfolk County Treasurer Tim Cahill will be our new State Treasurer beginning this January.Cahill,
who was the only experienced treasurer in both the September primary
election and the November election, defeated Republican Dan Grabauskis
on November 5th.

Republicans Retain Corner Office

JANUARY 2003 - Romney Defeats O'Brien's Bid For Governor - For the fourth consecutive time, a Republican has been elected to a four-year term as Governor of Massachusetts.Mitt
Romney of Belmont, the Republican candidate, fooled the pundits by
defeating Democratic candidate, State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, by a
surprising 5 percent margin. Media polls had called the race a dead
heat right up until the November 5th election.

Editorial: No Taxpayer Funded Campaigns

NOVEMBER 2002
- "Do you support taxpayer money being used to fund political campaigns
for public office in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?"

Cahill Endorsed For State Treasurer

NOVEMBER 2002
- His Experience Cited By Association - Appearing at our annual meeting, just four days prior to his smashing
September 17 Democratic primary victory for state treasurer, Tim Cahill
has earned the endorsement of our Association.Cahill, the Norfolk County Treasurer for the past six years, has been a consistent supporter of public retirees' progressive legislation, both at the State House and at the local level.

O'Brien Is Association's Choice For Governor

NOVEMBER 2002 - Most Qualified To Lead State - As
the Commonwealth moves ahead into 2003 and continues to deal with the
current fiscal crisis, our Association leaders believe that the
candidate for governor who is the most qualified for that office in
this November's election is Shannon O'Brien, the Democratic candidate.