Chair Talk

October 2017


On October 2, 2017 the Supreme Court denied the petition for Writ of Certiorari. There was not an explanation for the denial given. For all intents and purposes, the Okrie case is finished. The only hope we have left for modifying or eliminating the pension tax is with the Legislature.

There are about 16 bills dealing with the pension tax currently in the legislature. Mary Pollock, SERA’s Legislative Representative is keeping track of those bills. Mary will be encouraging the legislators that sponsored those bills to press for hearings/action. Mary and/or I will testify at hearings if those bills come up.


On September 20, 2017 the Civil Service Commission voted 3 to 1 to change Civil Service Rules to make shift and transfer, Layoff and Recall and Seniority definitions prohibited subjects of bargaining. The rule changes would become effective on January 1, 2019 and would not affect current State Employee Union contracts. The CSC also voted to bring back what’s called a rule of general applicability. This would allow the Michigan Civil Service Commission to immediately enact rules and apply them to all employees and parties (regardless of what language may be in the Union contracts). CSC indicated that rule would only be used for budgetary emergencies declared by the Governor. I can remember quite a few “budgetary emergencies” in the past 40 years. Most of testimony at the meeting was in opposition to the rule changes. Representatives from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Mackinaw Center testified in support of the rule changes. In my mind this sets the process of Labor Relations back about 30 years.


I have met with Arva Overton (BC/BS Account Manager) about some differences between Medicare wellness visits and annual physicals. After meeting with Arva she has put together a program about those differences. Arva has presented the program at the Flint Chapter and will present the program at the Lapeer Chapter on October 19th. I have scheduled her to present the program at the November 3rd CC meeting in Holt, MI. If you want to schedule Arva to attend your Chapter meeting she can be reached at: 313-448-5912 or at

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.