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Court Approves PERS Decisions

OPB | Dec. 30, 2011 10:03 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:02 a.m. | Portland, OR

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The Oregon Supreme Court has approved decisions the Public Employee Retirement System made as part of a court settlement. 

The case before the court examines whether PERS did right by negotiating a 2004 settlement in a lawsuit with Eugene, and several other public entities. Three public employees challenged the settlement. They argued PERS should have pursued the case.

The court did not agree. The Justices wrote that PERS leaders have a duty to consider the long-term stability and viability of the system. That included weighing the case’s chances on appeal.

Greg Hartman is an attorney representing the public employees acting as plaintiffs in this and other cases. He says the ruling completes all the litigation that arose from changes the legislature made to the system in 2003.

“We know what the rules are. All of that’s behind us. Time to move forward,” says Hartman.

The Court did find one problem with PERS transfer of $61 million to the public entities’ accounts, in the wake of the deal. The Justices said that figure needs to be re-examined in a Multnomah County Circuit Court.

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