BUCKS COUNTY BUGLE
FALL 2019 Newsletter
Welcome back! I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing, healthy, and enjoyable summer.
I would like to begin by sharing with you important information regarding PASR:
On October 6-8, PASR will be hosting the “House of Delegates Conference.” The conference, previously known as the PASR Convention, will be held at the Valley Forge Hotel and Casino, Valley Forge, PA. The Bucks Chapter has been allotted four (4) delegates to caucus and vote on PASR business. Also, three (3) non-voting members will be in attendance. Any new significant information regarding PASR will be shared at our Fall Luncheon.
The 2019 Leadership Conference will be held on November 6, 2019 at the Berks I.U. for PASR chapters in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
PASR has endorsed Russell, “Russ” Diesinger from Lenhartsville for the position of annuitant representative to the PSERS Board of Trustees. A short bio of Russ’s background and career can be found in the fall addition of PASR Times Magazine. PASR members are encouraged to vote for Russell Diesinger.
PASR is in the process of totally revamping the organization and content of its website. It is meant to be more users friendly and include more information of interest to the membership. The address remains the same www.pasr.com. It is expected to be available in early fall.
The need for COLA remains the chief goal of PASR’s Board of Directors. This will remain PASR’S focus until it is achieved. A special COLA effort update is in this fall’s edition of PASR Times Magazine. I encourage everyone to read it.
I am pleased to report the continued success of our Klothes 4 Kids Project. A total of 87 children are prepared for the start of a new school year with each receiving a new school bag packed with school supplies and clothing. Many thanks to Meg Kramer, her team of shoppers, and those who donated money to support our project.
Finally, effective at the end of 2019, Joy Harden is stepping down as Treasurer for PASR Bucks County and Region 1. She has provided many years of exemplary service for PASR and the Bucks Chapter. Joy we thank you for your service. You will be missed.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone at our fall luncheon.
Don’t forget to vote on November 5.
Fall Luncheon and Program
Fall Luncheon – October 24
Luncheon will be held in the Terrace Court at
Spring Mill Manor, 171 Jacksonville Road, Ivyland.
9:30 Registration with Coffee and Pastry
Please reserve by October 17 and choose entrée using insert coupon.
Chicken Lamone Dash sautéed breast of chicken in a lemon and white wine sauce
Stuffed Tilapia Florentine with a savory spinach filling, potato and vegetable medley.
Portabella Mushroom Tower on a painted plate
All entrees include a salad with choice of balsamic vinaigrette or Thousand Island dressing and Cheesecake with strawberry fan for dessert.
Pastries, coffee, tea, and juice are available from 9:30 to end of business meeting.
Back by popular demand will be Mike Ivankovich whose program “What’s it Worth, an Appraisal Event” will be presented. Mike will begin his program with information on what determines value. Members are asked to bring ONE item to be appraised. The cost per item will be $5. The money collected will be used toward our annual scholarships. Complete coupon to register your item.
At our Fall Luncheon we will be honoring those members or spouses of members who served in the armed forces. Please indicate on the luncheon coupon if you or your spouse is a Veteran. Veterans are welcome as guests at our Fall Luncheon, free of charge
SOCIAL SERVICE/MEMORIAL HONOR FUND
Eileen Sichel, Chairperson
If you are celebrating a 90 or 90+ birthdayor know of a member who is, kindly let Eileen know so that at our Spring Luncheon we can celebrate those special members that we have not honored previously for reaching this milestone. Whether they are living far or near, we would like to hear about our nonagenarians. Nonagenarians are welcome as guests to any of our luncheons, free of charge. Just let us know your status on the luncheon coupon.
As always, remember to let Eileen know if you have information or questions about members in need of our support. You are our only source of information concerning those members who could use a helping hand.
Information on members who have passed away recently should be send to Eileen so that their names can be added to our honor board, and they can be included in a memorial service at the House of Delegates Convention.
Finally, please consider donating to The PASR Memorial Honor Fund, which helps members across the state who have become ill or who are experiencing financial stress. Donations can be made through the PASR website. Why not honor or memorialize someone who has made a difference in your life by making a contribution to the fund.
KLOTHES FOR KIDS
Another successful year was achieved for our Klothes 4 Kids project. This was our 15th year of working with the Family Service Association to provide their young clients with clothing and school supplies to begin the new school year. Eighty-seven jam-packed bags were delivered on August 8. We had 65 shoppers this year. Many thanks go to the generous shoppers and those who donated money to the fund. Working together brings huge successes!
Linda Peters, Chair
Linda is sending information about our scholarships to public and vocational high schools in Bucks County. Two scholarships will be awarded - one from the northern and the other from the southern sections of the county. Also teacher grant will be awarded at our spring meeting. She is also contacting Vocational Schools about the Lauretta Woodsen awards.
Our scholarship awardees sent the thank you notes showing their appreciation.
Included on the coupon page is a contribution form for the scholarships. Please consider making a small donation since we have no special fund raiser for these scholarships and rely on members to support them.
MEMBER BENEFITS AND SERVICES
Meg Kramer, chair
The state MB&S committee along with Kelly Dygert at PASR headquarters are pleased to present new benefits for our statemembers. They include:
A prescription discountat CVS and other pharmacies. Frequently prescribed medications will be offered at a steep discount. This plan will take the place of any other prescription plan, so it is advisable to check with your pharmacy to see if this program is beneficial to you. Cards will be available after September 1 via the PASR website Members Only section. Look for an upcoming article in the PASR newsletter.
Discounted tickets for Dollywood, Hershey Park and minor league baseball games are also available through the website.
In the Members Only resource section of pasr.org,look for information on ADT, a home security system discount of $150 off of installation and a free doorbell camera. Also listed are mature driver programswhere a possible discount would be given for auto insurance upon completion of the course. From that members only section, look for Sams.comfor promotional discounts at Sam’s Club.
Always check with the PASR.org site for all of the members benefits offered. For questions, please contact Kelly Dygert at 1-717-697-7077.
Lynn Majewski, Chair
Ten members and friends registered for the Friends & Family CPR/AED to be held on Monday, September 30. Pictures will be included in the Spring Bugle.
Pearl Buck House Festival of Trees and Craft Show
December 4, 10:30 am
520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA
This will be a 1 – 1 ½ hour tour of the house decorated with beautiful trees and lovely vignettes crafted by Bucks County artists, decorators, and community groups. The cost is $15 per person, includes admission to house and craft show. Deadline for reservations is November 22. Complete the coupon and include payment for your reservation when sending to Joy Hardin. Transportation and lunch is on your own.
Consider inviting a friend to join PASR. There are many retired school personnel who do not know about PASR. Our two updated PASR websites contain information you can share in addition to convenient information about your own membership.
Our Bucks chapter of PASR has a website - www.buckspasr.org. In addition to information about our meetings, community service projects, scholarships and legislative efforts, there are forms for applying for membership and copies of our chapter newsletter.
For state membership information you can go to www.pasr.org. The Members’ Only Section of pasr.org has been redesigned. To log in to the Members’ Only Section, you will enter your username and password in the upper right-hand corner of the pasr.org home page.
Since the COLA is our major legislative goal, the Executive Board is including this article by David Noyes, our Regional Representative. Additional information is included in the recent PASR Times newsletter. Because many of our members do not belong to the state and do not receive that publication, we are providing this update on our efforts to secure a COLA.
A witty colleague, a school retiree, exclaimed, “Captain Morgan had an easier time than we do getting a cola.” This glib remark was a nice way of expressing frustration with the General Assembly’s failure to pass a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for seventeen years for school retirees. PASR has been going through great lengths to ensure that you do not end up without a COLA.
Max Krugle, Legislative and LPEC Co-Chair, and Mark McKillop, Executive Director of PASR have put together the following status report - “We strongly believe that it is essential to reach out and explain our current status. The development and implementation of our legislative efforts were a result of the work of the PASR Board of Directors and the members of the Legislative Committee and L/PEC.
Here are some key steps we have taken during our recent efforts:
1. Realizing that a coalition is more effective and important than a single entity, we have contacted PSEA to combine our efforts. Not only is this the most logical approach, it is professional behavior with a focus on the result and not the process. We worked very closely with our coalition partners on strategy, tactics and the implementation of our strategy.
2. Working in conjuncture with our partners, we developed and drafted legislation that would give an increase to all annuitants with a special emphasis on those who retired pre-Act 9.
3. After the legislation was developed and shared with our partners, the proposal was conveyed to PSERS (Public School Employees Retirement System) for their review and comments.
4. The lobbyists for PASR and our partners contacted Legislative Leaders and the Governor’s Office to convey our position and the acute need for a COLA. Several legislative leaders have reacted positively to our outreach and efforts.
5. After we received an estimate of the cost of our proposal and we developed three alternative proposals and submitted them for review working with our coalition partners.
6. We expanded our lobbyist efforts to include key rank and file legislators and committee Chairs.
7. It is important to note that during the process of communicating with the Pennsylvania General Assembly, several key leaders offered to either play a key role or offered to introduce legislation granting a COLA. Now, and in the future, it is vitally important to find the prime sponsor that would give the legislation the best chance of passing. Simply introducing a bill is not enough. We are working on a COLA for all PASR members but we understand that there is an acute need for those who are pre-Act 9 annuitants.
8. After the budget passed without any action on a COLA, we met to reassess our position and to plan the next step in the process.
9. We will continue to work and advocate for this issue when the General Assembly returns to session in September. Even though our goal was to achieve action prior to the passage of the budget, we will simply continue our efforts into the fall.
“Our mission will not be over until we achieve success. We will not be deterred during the process of obtaining a COLA for our members. This issue is never far from our minds.
It is important to remember that the legislative process presents many challenges and a great deal of complexity. The passage of any legislation is a two-step process that involves working with leaders and members of both the House and the Senate. What may be successful in one House of the General Assembly is not necessarily what will work with the other. In addition, any legislation will need the Governor’s support. The time is now and the need is critical and it is very important to our membership. “
It is hoped that you continue to be optimistic about a COLA and believe it will occur in the near future. It is also hoped that you do so in good health. May your fortunes be good and may you “Live like a Captain."
For more information about our legislative efforts click here.
DATES TO REMEMBER
October 3 Region 1 Luncheon, Manufacturers Country Club
October 6 – 8 PASR Convention, Valley Forge Casino
October 24 Bucks County Fall Luncheon
November 5 Election Day
November 6 Leadership Conference, Berks Co. IU
December 4 Pearl Buck House Tour