April 28 Update

Here is an update from the Attorney Stephen Pincus, who is handling the lawsuit against PERA and the State of Colorado:
“Richard Rosenblatt has met with the lawyers for the state and PERA to discuss some logistical issues.   The defendants are scheduled to file a response to the lawsuit by May 8.   We’ll have a better idea of the defendants’ position when we receive their response.”
We have been informed that the case has been assigned to Chief Judge Robert S. Hyatt of the 2nd Judicial Division of the state district court. His biography may be found here: http://www.courts.state.co.us/Bio.cfm/Employee_ID/551  Originally it was assigned to Chief Judge Larry Naves, but he retires this month.  The Case #  is 2010-CV-1589 in Denver District Court.  We’ll notify the email list when we know more!

8 Responses to April 28 Update

  1. DFD says:

    Has PERA filled their reply?

    • saveperacola says:

      We have the State’s reply, which references PERA’s, which we do not have yet, although it apparently has been filed. Within a day or so we should be able to provide both to you with a brief analysis.

      • BMT says:

        What is it going to take to get ANY information out of PERA. As far as I know we STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE RETURN FOR LAST YEAR WAS OR IT HAS NOT BEEN PUBLISHED. Why not……and now that the legislature has wrapped up for the year, are we now going to have to wait till next years legislative session for the next phase of this issue should the judge rule in our favor. Why is PERA being permitted to stall for what appears to be an indefinite period of time?
        Shouldn’t the release of the financial records be part of the discovery for this law suit and if so when can we expect to be apprised of PERA’s status?

      • saveperacola says:

        Typically PERA releases its CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) in May or June upon PERA Board of Trustees action. That would provide the financial information you reference. PERA and the State have just responded to the complaint this week and those filings are being posted tonight on this website. Later this month there will be a scheduling hearing with the judge that will make it clear as to when the legal steps will happen. Any final judgment by the courts will take lots of time. Your sense of urgency is understandable.

  2. DFD says:

    Mr. Thorpe is correct and exceedingly observant. Colorado Revised Statutes (2007 edition issued prior to the current financial and legislative debacle) in “Part 10” of title 24 is captioned “INCREASES IN BENEFITS” (note absence of a reference to COST OF LIVING.)
    C.R.S. 24-51-1001. Types of benefit increase. There is no mention of, reference to or inference pertaining to COST OF LIVING.
    C.R.S. 24-51-1002. Annual percentages to be used. There is no mention of, reference to or inference pertaining to COST OF LIVING.
    C.R.S. 24-51-1003. Annual increases in the base benefit. There is no mention of, reference to or inference pertaining to COST OF LIVING.
    C.R.S. 24-51-1005. Cost of living stabilization fund. (Repealed)
    C.R.S. 24-51-1006. Cost of living increases. (Repealed)
    C.R.S. 24-51-1009. Annual increase reserve – creation. There is no mention of, reference to or inference pertaining to COST OF LIVING.
    However (again note no reference to COST OF LIVING. I am not aware that these acts
    were initiated and/or completed during the current crisis. If so are results available to current benefit recipients? I also am unable to see any direction or authority to act on the assessment findings. This statue does seem to imply active management by the general assembly or does it apply only to future increases over the established base increase?)
    24-51-1010. Increase in benefits – actuarial assessment required.
    (1) Before increasing benefits provided by the association, the general assembly shall cause to be conducted pursuant to subsection (2) of this section an actuarial assessment to ensure that the increases in benefits would not cause the actuarial value of assets of the association to decline below ninety percent of the actuarial accrued liabilities of the association.
    (2) Upon direction from the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, the director of research of the legislative council shall contract with a private person to conduct an actuarial assessment of the association. The assessment shall be conducted to determine whether and to what extent an increase in the benefits provided by the association would cause the actuarial value of the assets of the association to decline below ninety percent of the actuarial accrued liabilities of the association. The assessment shall be completed and a final report of its findings and conclusions shall be submitted to the general assembly as soon as practicable. The person conducting the actuarial assessment of the association and such person’s employees shall, during the term of the contract, have access to any necessary documents and information in the custody of the association.
    Source: L. 2006: Entire section added, p. 1186, § 21, effective May 25.

  3. Barry Thorpe says:

    One of the more interesting aspects is use of the term “COLA”
    A “cost of living adjusment” might reasonably be seen as an increase specifically for rising costs, and therefore might reasonably be expected to be lowered, even eliminated in years where costs remain stable.
    HOWEVER, PERA did not start referring to the 3.5% contracted annual increase as a “COLA” until recently when they began floating the outrageous idea of breaking contracts with fully vested members.
    I just pulled out the benefit plan brochure from 2000 and 2001, and the term “COLA” is never used. The benefit is clearly described as an “annual increase”, and SHOULD be considered as such, since our accounts are used to make investments.
    I hope the attorneys can clearly draw this distinction, and stop using the term “COLA”, as this benefit was NOT intended to be indexed by any tracking of the CPI.

    • Tom Zabel says:

      Barry, thanks for bringing this up. It surprised me when I first read of PERA using that term to describe what had always been referred to as an “increase” previously.

    • saveperacola says:

      The name Save PERA COLA was invented as an easily remembered phrase that quickly conveyed our goal. The website’s masthead more accurately describes the reality of “fighting for retirees’ annual benefit increases.” To change the name now would be difficult and counter-productive for us. The attorneys are well aware of the distinction and will make our case well. Thank you, Barry!

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