Latest News

HAVERHILL CITY COUNCIL TABLES COLA BASE VOTE

Base Increase Opposed By Mayor Fiorentini

SEPTEMBER 11, 2013: Last night, the Haverhill City Council tabled a request by the Haverhill Retirement Board that would have raised the cost-of-living base for its retirees.

The initiative, voted 3-2 by the Retirement Board, would have increased the base amount, which is currently $12,000, by $1,000 per year for each of the next three years, capping at $15,000 in 2016.

ASSOCIATION ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT

ASSOCIATION ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT

Frank Valeri To Take Reins In December

SEPTEMBER 10, 2013: Beginning this December, our Association will have a new President.

In something of a surprise to many members, at last Friday’s Annual Meeting and biannual election, President Ralph White announced that he was not seeking election for a new two-year term.

STATE BOARD ELECTION UNDERWAY

White is Candidate

SEPTEMBER 9, 2013: Although no longer President of the Association, Ralph White will remain active in the public retirement arena.

His first chore is to win reelection to the State Board of Retirement for a new three-year term beginning in January. The election is now underway.

FALL LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS

Busy Schedule For Public Service Committee

SEPTEMBER 5, 2013: With the summer recess now in the rearview mirror, the state Legislature has returned to Beacon Hill with an aggressive fall agenda.

On Tuesday, September 10th, the Joint Committee on Public Service will reconvene with what is expected to be a lengthy public hearing in the State House’s Gardner Auditorium. Association officials will be on hand to testify on further increases to the COLA base (S1259 & S1263) and the Option B & C recalculation (H2235).

Annual Meeting Friday, September 6

Annual Meeting Friday, September 6

AUGUST 30, 2013: If you haven't already, mark your calendar for the Association's September 6 Annual Meeting - one week from today.

The meeting, once again held at The Lantana in Randolph, begins at 1:00 PM. Further information and directions can be found by clicking here.

SOCIAL SECURITY MARKS 78TH ANNIVERSARY

SOCIAL SECURITY MARKS 78TH ANNIVERSARY

AUGUST 14, 2013: On this day in 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, marking the beginning of one of the most successful social programs in world history. Arguably, few public policies have done more to bring about positive change in quality of life in than Social Security.

Prior to Social Security, millions of elderly Americans lived in dire poverty and squalor. While the fight to combat poverty remains some 78 years later, much improvement has been made in the overall health and lives of retired Americans.

HALLOWEEN HEARING SET FOR RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM

H59 Marks Largest Issue of 2013

AUGUST 7, 2013: The Joint Committee on Public Service has announced that on October 31, 2013 it will hold the long awaited public hearing on H59, Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to reform retiree healthcare benefits.

As members know, H59 largely reflects the findings of the 2012 Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare, on which our Association held a seat. Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel represented public retirees on the Commission.

FALL EYED FOR HEALTH REFORM HEARING

Public Service Weighing Association Proposals

JULY 26, 2013: September looks to be when the legislature will begin to actively consider H59, Governor Deval Patrick’s much anticipated Retiree Healthcare Reform proposal. As employees and retirees are well aware, the bill has been awaiting action before the Joint Committee on Public Service since filed by the governor in February.

ASSOCIATION BILLS ON PUBLIC SERVICE DOCKET

Next Hearing To Focus on Healthcare Proposals

JULY 19, 2013: With one remaining public hearing scheduled to take place prior to the legislature breaking for its summer recess, the Joint Committee on Public Service is set to review a host of Association proposals centering on retiree healthcare.

Slated to receive a public hearing on Tuesday, July 23, are four Association-backed bills that address improvements in healthcare benefits for retirees and survivors. They include:

PATRICK SIGNS FY14 BUDGET

3% State & Teacher COLA Approved

JULY 12, 2013: Governor Deval Patrick has approved the FY 14 3% COLA for state and teacher retirees. Eligible retirees and survivors (retired before 7/1/12) will receive the increase, which is set on a $13,000 base, in their July pension check.

The annual COLA for state and teacher retirees is contained within the state’s annual budget appropriation. It was first proposed by Patrick in January, and then unanimously endorsed by the House and Senate.

LEGISLATURE APPROVES 3% STATE/TEACHER COLA

Systems On Track For July Payment

JULY 1, 2013: The House and Senate approved a full 3% COLA on a $13,000 base for state and teacher retirees effective this July. Eligible retirees and survivors should receive the first payment in the July pension check, which is issued at the end of the month.

WARREN, CAPUANO & KENNEDY JOIN RENEWED FIGHT

WEP/GPO REPEAL Bill Filed in Senate

JUNE 21, 2013: Members impacted by either the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) or Government Pension Offset (GPO) received reason for increased optimism that the two regressive federal laws days may be numbered.

Following an earlier bill (HR 1795) filed in the House, Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has filed S.896. The bill now has 9 cosponsors from across the political spectrum, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Maine’s Susan Collins.

ASSOCIATION JOINS INSURANCE ADVISORY GROUP

Focus On Municipal Healthcare

JUNE 19, 2013: The Association has joined Fallon Community Health Plan’s Municipal Advisory Group, which brings together a variety of healthcare interests from West Suburban and Central Massachusetts.

Chaired by Shrewsbury Town Manager Dan Morgado, the Advisory Group was created in 2012 by Fallon as a means of affecting better communication between municipal officials, retiree and employee groups and insurance representatives. Both Steward Heath Systems and U-Mass Medical Center also participate.

BILL WOULD ALLOW FREE REIGN ON DENTAL PRICING

Association Opposes ‘Anti-Consumer’ Proposal

JUNE 13, 2013: A bill that would allow dentists to negate contractual agreements with insurance companies that offer discounted pricing on dental care is now pending before the Joint Committee on Financial Services. The proposal, if passed into law, would allow dentists free reign to set prices on dental services at any level they choose, once a patient exhausts their annual dental insurance benefit.

SUPPORT GROWS FOR WEP/GPO REPEAL BILL

JUNE 11, 2013: Support for the recently filed H.R. 1795 has grown to 61 cosponsors over the five week period since the bill was first introduced.

Sponsored by Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois and Democrat Adam Schiff of California, H.R. 1795 aims to fully repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).

What’s Next for Social Security?

New York Times
Editorial Board

The trustees of Social Security recently reported that the retirement system can pay full benefits until 2035, when it will be able to pay about three-fourths of promised benefits. That is not a crisis. It is a manageable problem.

Is Obamacare Too Complicated to Succeed?

The Affordable Care Act has been under siege since before it even had a name. Some on the right saw it as government overreach. Some on the left considered it better for insurance companies than for consumers. As many of the law’s provisions take effect over the next year, we’re hearing from both sides all over again. This time the theme is that the law is too complex.

SENATE BUDGET INCLUDES 3% STATE & TEACHERS’ COLA

GIC Contribution Percent Intact For State Retirees

May 24, 2013: There are no unwelcome surprises for retirees and survivors in the Senate version of the FY’14 State Budget, approved Thursday night. In fact, the $34 Billion package includes some good news for retired state employees and teachers.

BIPARTISAN REPEAL OF WEP/GPO UNDERWAY

H.R.1795 Introduced In 113th Congress

May 1, 2013: Congressmen, from different states and political parties, have joined together to hopefully correct a longstanding problem that they share in common – and with us here – namely, Social Security’s oppressive Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).

HOUSE APPROVES 3% STATE/TEACHER COLA

37 Local Systems Adopt July Increase

APRIL 25, 2013: This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the $34 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins July 1. Contained within the budget is a full 3% COLA for eligible state and teacher retirees, which will be applied to a $13,000 base.

A budget primer for White House budget week

By Josh Hicks
Washington Post
April 8, 2013

RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM BILL ON HOLD

Legislative Focus On Taxes & Transportation

APRIL 4, 2013: While concern over potential sweeping changes in retiree healthcare benefits grows amongst active employees, legislative action on Governor Patrick’s H59 now appears to be on a slow track.

DISABILITY REFORM COMMISSION CONSIDERING OPTIONS

Association Pushes For Improvements

MARCH 29, 2013: The Special Commission on Disability Retirement has entered the final phase of its work. This past week, Commission members began to outline potential changes and reforms that might be recommended within the Commission’s report.

After nearly eight months of study and deliberation, the Commission has found no evidence of widespread inefficiency or scandal that would warrant a major reform of the disability law for public employees and retirees.

Talk of Medicare Changes Could Open Way to Budget Pact

New York Times

By JACKIE CALMES and ROBERT PEAR
Published: March 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — As they explore possible fiscal deals, President Obama and Congressional Republicans have quietly raised the idea of broad systemic changes to Medicare that could produce significant savings and end the polarizing debate over Republican plans to privatize the insurance program for older Americans.