PERS Members Are Just Following The Rules

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.

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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.
This entry was posted in Governor, Oregon judges, Oregon legislators, Oregon legislature, Oregon PERS and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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