Chair Talk

February 2015

January had quite a few frigid temperatures, February opened with a snow storm in the Midwest and North East snarling traffic and causing innumerable accidents. We are still in for more snow this week-end. Of course these weather events are dwarfed by the conversations that people are having about the last couple minutes of Super Bowl XLIX. Strangest finish I have seen in quite some time.

I have not received a lot of phone calls from retirees with health or prescription drug issues. We have seen some changes in the health plan over the past few months that raised a lot of questions then but have slowed down now. We still had a couple retirees that were automatically placed in their spouse’s drug plan and had to maneuver out of that issue.

Blue Cross representatives will be at the February CC meeting to discuss the changes in the health plan and how it works. The information they provide is always helpful and I am sure they will have hand-outs for those attending. I would urge the Chapters to invite BC/BS representatives to your Chapter meetings so your members can hear their presentations and ask questions.

We are waiting for a decision from the Supreme Court on 2 cases that were argued in January: Right to Work and its effect on Civil Service and the 4% that active State Employees have to pay towards retirement. Mary Pollock and I attended those oral arguments. I was also able to take my 18 year old grandson (senior at Goodrich) along with me. He thought the arguments were interesting and he was impressed with the whole morning.

Tim Easterwood (Voluntary Benefits Solutions) and Cheryl Streberger (SERA-PLUS manager) will be at the February CC meeting to update us on the SERA-PLUS program.

We received the following e-mail from Gary Supanich on 1/5/15:

Bob and Mary, I hope that you are in good health and spirits, but I have some bad news to report: The Michigan Supreme Court (on Tuesday, February 3) denied my Application for Leave to Appeal from the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissing the Petition challenging the transfer of the Court of Claims to the Court of Appeals. The Order stated that “we are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.” (?!).  At any rate, the case will remain with the Court for 21 days before being returned to the Court of Claims, where there is a pending motion for reconsideration.  No doubt, the minute that it gets back, Judge Servitto will immediately issue an order denying the motion for recon, which triggers the 21-day period for filing an appeal as of right to the Court of Appeals.  This should happen sometime at the end of this month or early March.  Once again, I would like to thank you for the support of SERA, but now we go forward with the Pension case again, for better or for worse.

My best regards.


Editor’s note: Bob Kopasz is Chair of the Michigan SERA Council. He may be reached at P.O. Box 692, Mt. Morris, MI 48458; phone 810/240-8380.