Chair Talk

November 2021

The past 2 years has not helped much to increase membership. In the past 2 years many Chapters have not had meetings (zoom or conference calls), nor have they printed newsletters informing members of legislation and activities that will have a direct effect on their retirees. As an organization, where have we gone wrong? Many organizations are having the same issues as we are. Most organizations are losing members whether they be religious, military or any other type. In traveling this fall, I learned that in the state of Washington the state retiree organization has only about 11,000 members state-wide. In Idaho, the state retiree organization folded in January and no longer exists.

SERA is consistently losing members every year. There are over 46,000 state retirees and about six thousand of them are SERA members---that is about 13% of current retirees. What are we doing wrong? What should we be doing to recruit new members? I realize that we no longer receive new retiree lists from the State and that Hantz representatives are averaging about 10 to 12 new members a month. We need to figure out how to increase membership. Many Chapter leaders have been in their positions for many years and are ready to let someone younger take over leadership positions. But there is no one in the Chapters that will volunteer their time to help.

When there are no younger members to step up and take over these positions other issues are raised. We are now looking at Chapters that are discussing mergers with other Chapters and/or dissolving the Chapter. The problem then is do the Chapter By-Laws address the issue of merging with another Chapter or dissolving the Chapter completely? If the Chapter By-Laws do not address the issue—how should it be handled?

I am hoping that discussion at the Coordinating Council will resolve the issues I have mentioned above.

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.