Last week, Governor Kate Brown released her Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) stabilization plan. This plan focused exclusively on PERS fixes for education, and neglected to address the burdens PERS places on local governments. This is on the heels of the Legislature advancing a bill that would add all deputy district attorneys to PERS Police and Fire– the bill would put a significant unfunded mandate on Oregon counties and further exacerbate the problem for local government. It is vitally important that all levels of government are considered in PERS conversations.
Another proposal is expected to be offered by legislative leadership. In a recent OPB article, House Speaker Tina Kotek noted the importance of ensuring all public agencies and localities benefit from the designed solution stating, “everyone has the same problem right now.” Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) is grateful for legislative leadership’s consideration of a comprehensive policy that would bring relief to Oregon counties. While the proposal is yet to be unveiled, AOC Legal Counsel and resident PERS expert Rob Bovett will be engaged in discussions.
AOC stands firmly on the following principles relating to PERS:
1. AOC supports fair PERS retirement benefits for County employees at a stable, sustainable, affordable cost to County Government
2. AOC is generally opposed to proposals that:
- Increase employer costs
- Expand the definition of those eligible for Police/Fire benefits
- Expand opportunities for early retirement
- Expand opportunities for PERS retirees to work for PERS participating employers
While AOC is still working through discussions on PERS solutions, AOC encourages members to reach out their Senator, Representative, and the Governor to let them know counties need relief from the unsustainable costs of PERS.
AOC looks forward to discussing solutions at the next Governance steering committee meeting.
Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate