Our December 5 segment about Oregon’s Public Emloyees Retirement System generated quite a discussion online. The segment focused specifically on the recent release of data about retirees and their pensions. We heard from retirees affected by the data release as well as people outside the system who had thoughts to share. Mrfearless47 wrote:
As expected, I have taken a great deal of personal insult over the size of my pension now that it is public. People don’t get that I worked for 32 years to get that benefit, that it is well under 100% of my salary and that only a small portion of my benefit came from contributions; the bulk is from earning on my own money and the employer contribution.
Another commenter, flashsteve, said:
The listing personalized the issue for me. I looked up two friends who retired recently as high school teachers. Both will collect over $6000 a month for the rest of their lives (since they are in their early 60’s now, one would assume they might collect for decades). Both are good people, worked hard for 35 years as teachers, but collecting a monthly pension about equal to their finally monthly salaries just does not seem right.
There were a number of factual questions that we didn’t have time to get to on the air. In this segment, we hope to answer some of those questions. We’ll also hear from both people behind the comments mentioned above.
And we’d like to hear from you: Are you a PERS member? How has the data release affected you? What kinds of misconceptions do you find people have about PERS? If you’re not a PERS member, what questions do you have about how the system works?
- Paul Cleary: Executive director of Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System
- Marc Feldesman: Retired Portland State University faculty administrator and author (enrolled in PERS) and blogger the Oregon PERS Information blog
- Steve Scarich: Retired person who is not in PERS