BUCKS COUNTY BUGLE
It seems like our population is trying to get back to what they call a new normal. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but my thoughts are it probably means folks want to get back to being outside, enjoy the company of people in social situations, seeing friends and family, taking vacations, etc.
In the news media, there has been quite a bit attention paid to PSERS. It seems as if there was a “bookkeeping mistake"(my term) regarding their report on investments returns made by PSERS. This has drawn the attention of many interested parties such as an investigation being conducted by the FBI, news media etc. PASR is monitoring the system and will determine our response based on the findings of the FBI investigation. Currently, their investigation is still on going so nothing to respond to at this point. PASR has adopted a position of watchful waiting and will issue their response based on the FBI’S report.
Our Bucks chapter is also taking the attitude of this is our new normal; starting with our general membership luncheon meeting on Thursday, September 30. There is much to cover on our agenda, board elections, well deserved awards to distinguish chapter members, and the like. Furthermore; our guest speaker will be the Honorable Frank Farry (State representative for the 142nd District). He will share with you the situation in the state legislature as to upcoming activities involving our state government and our pension fund.
In closing, I sincerely request you will join us at our membership meeting as we get back to our version of the new normal.
SOCIAL SERVICE/MEMORIAL HONOR FUND
Eileen Sichel, Chairperson
Please consider donating to the SSMHF to help unfortunate PASR members from across the state who are confined to a residence or in need of support due to illness or age. The amount processed to our members in need has exceeded the incoming donations as more and more of our older members are asking for help. No funding comes from dues, but relies only on the generosity of members or chapters. Donations have fallen, but expenses have remained the same.
Checks are deposited in a separate account used only by the SSMHF. You will need to complete this from and mail it to PASR, 878 Century Drive, Mechanics, PA 17055
MEMORIAL HONOR FUND
Keep our committee informed. If you are celebrating a 90 or 90+ birthday or know of a member who is, let us know so that we can celebrate those special people. Whether living near or far, 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 you status on the attached luncheon coupon. In addition, for future recognition, please let us know if you are a veteran or know of a member who served our country in the military.
Alice Kirby, chair
At the June Board meeting, the Board approved sending $500 donations to two local organizations that provide much needed services to our community. The Penndel Food Pantry helps those needing food, for many as a result of the pandemic. Since we are not doing the Klothes for Kids project, a donation was sent to the Family Services Association of Bucks County.
Linda Peters, Chair
The Lauretta Woodson Awards will be given to Craig Smith, a teacher, and Daniel Anello, maintenance staff, both from New Hope Solebury School District. Each will receive $100.00 and a framed certificate. All recipients have been invited to our fall luncheon. The Grant winners will be given their checks at the luncheon.
MEMBER BENEFITS AND SERVICES
Meg Kramer, chair
The dental and vision rates will be increasing beginning in July or later on your anniversary date. Letters with details from the state office will be sent soon to current participants. In order to receive these benefits, you must be a state PASR member. Recent editions of the PASR Times have outlined the various benefits available to members.
Lynn Majewski, Chair
There are 2 RECREO activities planned for the remainder of 2021.
Join us on October 28 at the Mattison Estate Welcome Center for a workshop - Designing for Wellness – Make and Take a unique wellness flower arrangement. Brenda Sullivan, a horticultural therapist, will guide our creativity and provide the materials needed to make the arrangements. It starts at 10 and we will attempt to car pool to the facility. You may also transport yourself.
When: Thursday, October 28, 10 – 11:30 am
Location: The 501 at the Mattison Estate Welcome Center (adjacent to the Ambler Movie Theater), 106 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA
Cost: $10 per person, (includes flower arrangement, coffee/snacks)
Complete the enclosed coupon to register and return by 10/21
Join us at Bristol Riverside Theatre for An American Christmas Songbook on Sunday, December 12, at 3 pm. The show presents traditional Christmas carols and new arrangements of popular holiday songs performed by Keith Baker and the Bristol Riverside Concert Band and fabulous entertainers.
When: Sunday, December 12 at 3 pm.
Cost: $32 per person
Complete the enclosed coupon by November 15. Tickets will be mailed so be sure to include your address on the coupon
Fall 2021 Luncheon- September 30
Luncheon will be held in the Terrace Court at Spring Mill Manor, 171 Jacksonville Road, Ivyland.
9:30 Registration with Coffee and Pastry, 10:00 Meeting
Please reserve by September 23 and choose entrée using insert coupon, click here.
Entrée Choices – Chicken and Tilapia include Potatoes DuJour & Vegetable Melody
• Breast of chicken with apple raisin stuffing in a brandy cream sauce
• Tilapia Francaise dipped in egg and sautéed.
• Portobello mushroom Tower on the 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.
PROGRAM – Legislation Panel
The program will be a legislation panel featuring Representative Frank Farry and several other Bucks county legislators. Representatives Wendi Thomas, Meghan Schroeder, and Kristi Tomlinson have been invited to Join Representative Farry in discussing the possibility of a COLA, current proposed PSERS system reforms, and other legislation affecting seniors. The format will be a presentation followed by Question and Answer Session. Because we have had few meetings we will catch up on election of officers, presentations of citations, and introduction of teacher grant recipients.
House of Delegates
The House of Delegates Meeting will be October 3 – 5 at the Eden Resort in Lancaster. Bucks County delegates are Linda Peters, Eileen Sichel, Lynn Majewski, and Meg Kramer. Meg will be participating virtually – a feature offered this year due to Covid. Judy Guise, Region 1 Director, also attends as a member of the Board of Directors. The President of Millersville, Dr. Daniel Wubah will be the Keynote Speaker. In addition to Plenary Sessions, enrichment seminars are planned. Main item of business is the acceptance of the revised By-Laws. Election of officers and installation of President-Elect, Bill Neugebauer will take place.
PSERS IN THE NEWS
Mark McKillop, PASR Executive Director, issued the following statement (from PASR TIMES, Summer 2021 Edition) on the PSERS situation. It is important to note that your pension is not affected by of these investigations.
PASR Statement on PSERS:
Due to recent news about issues involving the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS), the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR) is compelled to respond as it funds our pensions in retirement. Since PASR represents only retirees and not active members, issues involving alleged malfeasance at PSERS significantly impacts our members and their livelihoods.
PSERS has acknowledged that there is an active FBI investigation along with a federal grand jury investigation into its recent operations. At this time, there is no evidence or information leading to the conclusion that any pension has been placed in jeopardy.
Please note that PASR and PSERS are separate operations without any direct connection, therefore the investigation does not directly involve our organization.
Reason for the Investigation
There is a shared risk provision with active (non-retiree) PSERS members under Pennsylvania State Law that is based on an investment “window” of nine years. If PSERS investment returns fall below 6.36 percent over that nine-year period, a shared risk provision increases the amount that public school employees, who were hired after July 1, 2011, pay into PSERS. Originally, PSERS certified that the nine-year return was 6.38 percent. Later, PSERS held a special meeting and changed the number to 6.34 percent which activated that shared risk provision.
News reports surfaced that indicated a possible investigation was underway at PSERS about the estimation of the nine-year investment return and the process it took to reach that number. Recently, additional reports have indicated that the investigation goes beyond the process of the estimation. At this point, it is speculation until there is a second party validation.
As a result of the pending investigations, PSERS has acknowledged hiring at least four outside law firms to represent them. Also, PSERS has acknowledged hiring an additional outside consulting firm to help with investments during the time their staff is under investigation. This will result in additional money being spent in addition to normal management and personnel costs. PASR will seek information about the impact of those additional expenditures.
The PSERS investigation will take time to run its course, and we must respect that process. It is important to note that the average federal grand jury investigation usually takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete.
PASR will closely follow this issue and we are committed to providing factual updates to keep you informed as the investigation progresses. We are here to be a trusted resource and will continue to advocate on your behalf.
We sincerely appreciate our members and leaders who have reached out to us to comment and seek additional information. We rely on feedback from our members, and we will continue to be responsive.
BUCKS CHAPTER NEEDS YOU!
Just like Tom Paine said in the American Revolution now is the time to come to the aid of our chapter. At the membership meeting, we will be electing officers. At present the only position with a candidate is Treasurer, Linda Peters (pictured on left). We need a secretary as well as President. Newsletter assemblers at Arlene Williams’ home enjoy lunch after getting newsletters ready for mail.
DATES TO REMEMBER
AUGUST 26 REGION 1 EXECUTIVE MEETING
SEPTEMBER 9 BUCKS COUNTY BOARD MEETING
Bucks County Intermediate Unit
SEPTEMBER 30 BUCKS COUNTY FALL LUNCHEON
OCTOBER 3 – 5 PASR HOUSE OF DELEGATES MEETING
Eden Resort, Lancaster
NOVEMBER 2 ELECTION DAY – VOTE!!!!!