A July 21, 2012 article in the Oregonian reports on how many PERS members have used special rules to substantially increase their retirement benefits. http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2012/07/oregon_pers_pension_pay_gets_p.html.
While those special rules do exist, it is important to note that those rules were not made or approved by the people of Oregon who have to pay for the resulting artificially inflated retirement benefits. Those special rules were made by PERS members in the legislature and PERS administrators to whom authority was delegated by the PERS legislators. And those special benefits have been vigorously enforced by PERS Judges and PERS Governors who personally benefit from those special rules.
This situation is the direct result of legislators being allowed to join PERS in 1971. From that date on the people of Oregon have been excluded from the process of making PERS rules. Governor Kitzhaber did not join PERS when he was first elected to the legislature in 1979. But after he realized how great his potential PERS benefits could be if he had joined PERS in 1979, benefits that he had helped create, he participated in enacting a 1987 law that allowed him and a few other legislators to retroactively join PERS.
When Oregon governmental leaders at the highest level are blatantly abusing their position of public trust to financially benefit themselves, who can blame any other PERS member from doing the same thing. This can change, however, by removing Oregon judges from PERS, so that PERS law suits will be fairly determined, and by removing legislators from PERS so that PERS laws will no longer be made just by the PERS members.
November 6, 2012 will be the opportunity for Oregonians to change how PERS is operated. It is important to ask the people who are candidates to represent you in the legislature what they think about the current PERS situation and if they will work to change it so that it is fair to everyone.