From the Media

3rd time not a charm, as Leominster board again denies pension raise for retirees

By Cliff Clark, cclark@sentinelandenterprise.com

LEOMINSTER -- The third attempt to secure an annual pension increase for city retirees failed like the first two at a meeting Tuesday morning of the city's Retirement Board.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourselves," one person shouted from a crowd of more than 50 city retirees and supporters at the board as three of its members raised their hands to deny city retirees a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase.

Retirement Board to again take up COLA

LEOMINSTER -- Just seven days after the Retirement Board voted down the first cost-of-living increase for city retirees in five years, another attempt will be made at 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to one board member.

"We're going to try again to get a COLA for city retirees," said elected board member John Picone.

During last week's meeting, the board voted twice on proposals to raise the COLA 3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Tempers rise -- but not pensions for Leominster

LEOMINSTER -- Tension between the chairman of the Retirement Board, other board members and city retirees erupted into open hostility at a meeting Tuesday, when another attempt at securing a cost-of-living raise for pensioners failed.

"You've been lying to this board," elected Retirement Board member John Picone said to Chairman John Richard, who is also the city comptroller, in front of more than 40 city retirees in the Council Chambers of City Hall. "You've been lying to me. You've been lying to the people out here for years.

Fossil-fuel divestiture hearing: Retirees’ interests vs. environmental concerns

John Hilliard
State House News Service
June 9, 2015

During a packed hearing late Tuesday morning, supporters of bills that would divest public pensions from fossil fuel energy industry over concerns that relying on profits from those companies helps contribute to climate change.

Early retirement plan drawing fewer applicants than predicted

Governor Charlie Baker’s early retirement plan is on pace to draw fewer applicants than his administration predicted, a gap that could prompt state government layoffs later this year.

State clears way for 5,000 workers to retire early

Some fear move may hurt services

By Joshua Miller Globe Staff  May 05, 2015

Governor Charlie Baker signed an early retirement plan Monday that will soon reduce the state workforce by up to 5,000 employees — a move that is expected to save money but quickly raised worries about an erosion of state services.

Though state lawmakers had expressed some initial skepticism, the House and Senate gave final approval to the proposal hours before the governor signed it. The votes were a victory for Baker and his effort to bridge a daunting state budget shortfall.

Gov. Charlie Baker signs state employee retirement incentive program into law

By Shira Schoenberg
May 04, 2015 at 5:15 PM

BOSTON - Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law establishing a retirement incentive for state employees, on the same day the Legislature sent the bill to his desk.

"We're very happy with the Legislature's compromise on this, and we're thrilled that they acted expeditiously to get this done," Baker told reporters at the Statehouse. "I appreciate the fact that it was a complicated piece of legislation to begin with, and we're looking forward to moving forward on the act of actually implementing it."

New Law to Strip Social Security Numbers From Medicare Cards

WASHINGTON — Concerned about the rising prevalence and sophistication of identity theft, most private health insurance companies have abandoned the use of Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The federal government even forbids private insurers to use the numbers on insurance cards when they provide medical or drug benefits under contract with Medicare.

Baker’s early retirement plan could see House vote this week

By Joshua Miller
Globe Staff  March 23, 2015

In a boost for a key part of Governor Charlie Baker’s budget plan, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo Monday backed a pension-sweetening early retirement program that Baker proposed to help close a gnawing state budget gap.

DeLeo said the House of Representatives intends to vote as soon as this week on the plan, which works to entice thousands of state workers to retire early by offering them a chance to boost their pensions by crediting them with up to five additional years of age or work.

Blue Cross vastly expands quality-based payment systems

The Massachusetts health care industry’s traditional system of paying doctors for every office visit, test, and procedure may be nearing its end.