October 9, 2008

TRS Board of Trustees to Vote on Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Change

UPDATE - October 14 - TRS has placed a memo on their website regarding the proposed change. Please read the memo.

On September 24, 2008, the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) Board of Trustees held a scheduled meeting with members of various educator advocacy groups (GAE and PAGE) present. During the meeting, the Chief Financial Office in the Governor's Office, Tommy Hills, proposed a change in TRS board policy regarding the semiannual Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) for both current and future retirees.

The current policy has been in place since 1969, and it states that TRS “shall give” its members a 1.5% COLA in January and July of every year. The Governor's office wants to change that policy to “may give” a 1.5% COLA in January and July. Under the new plan, the Board of Trustees for TRS would vote each May on changing the COLA and possibly how much the COLA should change. From what Mr. Hills said, this would bring the TRS in line with other Georgia retirement boards.

After a discussion, a vote was taken by the seven members who were present. Three members supported the measure and three opposed it. Acting chairman Russell Hinton broke the tie by voting in favor. The proposed change must be “on the table” for 30 days before any action can be taken. The TRS does not meet in October and the next meeting will be November 19th when they will vote on the proposed change.

Based on this information, I personally wrote a letter to Mr. Jeffrey Ezell (Executive Director of TRS) asking him to have the Board of Trustees not change the current wording of the policy. Please see my letter below - click on it to enlarge it.

I would like to ask each of you to please do the same and write TRS to let them know that you are not in favor of any change to the policy. Hopefully together with GAE and PAGE, we can all make a difference so Georgia does not alter the semiannual COLA.

To e-mail all of the important individuals (Jeffrey Ezell - Executive Director of TRS, Governor Perdue, Lt. Governor Cagle, Speaker Richardson, Tommy Mills - CFO, Senator Heath, and Representative Maxwell) with just one click - please click here.

Direct Links to additional information on the proposed change:
  • From GAE - Georgia Association of Educators - You must be a member.
  • From PAGE - Professional Association of Georgia Educators
Sources: GAE, PAGE

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