Most Elected Officials Who Joined PERS Can End Their PERS Membership

There is good news and bad news regarding Oregon elected officials who joined PERS when they were elected to office.

First the good news.  Most of those elected officials who joined PERS have the right to cancel their PERS membership.  Elected officials who took office before August 29, 2003 have this right under Oregon Administrative Rule 459–010-0180.  All they have to do is send a written notice to PERS that they want out within 30 days of the end of their term.   Persons taking office after August 28, 2003 have the same right under ORS 238A.100(2).   They just need to send written notice to PERS within 30 days of starting their new term of office.  That means elected officials like the governor and the attorney general can terminate their PERS membership if they want to do so and end the conflict of interest their PERS membership creates.

Now the bad news.  The two groups of elected officials who have the greatest control over the PERS laws, the legislators and the judges, cannot terminate their PERS membership under OAR 459-010-0180 or under ORS 238A.100(2).  Once they are in PERS, they are in it for good.

This exclusion of legislators and judges from the group of elected officials who can terminate their PERS membership is deliberate.  There is no reason that supports it other than to ensure that once legislators and judges join PERS their financial interest in PERS benefits and their conflict of interest will grow stronger every greater year.  That, of course, also makes it more unlikely that PERS benefits will be reduced by either the legislature or the courts.

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About Dan Re

I am an attorney who has lived in Bend and practiced law since 1981. In educating myself about the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), I was shocked at how the PERS laws were changed by the legislature, once legislators were allowed to join PERS in 1971, 26 years after PERS was first created. Those changes personally benefitted the legislators who made them at the direct financial expense of the people they were elected to represent. That is wrong and I intend to change it. In 2009, I started a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation, In RE The People, Inc., for the purpose of informing concerned citizens of what happened regarding PERS and other issues of social and civic importance. I then created this blog to further that objective.
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One Response to Most Elected Officials Who Joined PERS Can End Their PERS Membership

  1. I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.
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