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April 4, 2014 / jimnv

NV PEBP and Excess Reserves

On April 3, 2014, the Nevada Public Employee Benefits Program board decided to restore benefits lost during The Great Recession by depleting it $54 million excess reserves.  Some changes for the 2016-2017 biennium are:

Annual dental coverage will be $1,500 instead of $1,000.

Co-insurance coverage will be 80 percent after deductibles are paid.

Northern Nevada HMO participants will pay $300 for outpatient surgery and the in-patient hospitalization co-payment dropped to $500 from $1,000.

Southern Nevada HMO participants will see some increases. For example, a specialist visit will be $25 instead of $15 and an ER visit will be $150 instead of $75. Northern Nevada participants pay more.

Active member life insurance will be $25,000 instead of $10,000. For retired members their life insurance will be $12,500.

The issue here is not just about what people will pay in the future but why the excess reserves are so high year after year. Excess reserves come directly from the pockets of participants and show the incompetence of NV PEBP management. I have said repeatedly … Executive Director Wells must be fired; he should not be allowed to resign for any reason. Wells has consistently shown his antipathy toward state employees by making them unnecessarily pay more for their health benefits. This is bad management.

This governor’s man must go… now!

March 7, 2014 / jimnv

We’ll See

Brian Sandoval filed for his second term as governor on March 7, 2014. He said that if re-elected he would serve out his full second term. We shall see about that.

It IS guaranteed he will win re-election, unless of course he sets it up so he looses. This would let him challenge Reid in 2016, if Reid runs for re-election and let him keep his promise that he would serve a full second term if re-elected. Now THAT is crazy speculation! 

He said Nevada is in recovery mode but there nothing that shows Sandoval deserves the credit. Our recovery would have happened even if the governor’s office was vacant. Economic recoveries have momentum and Nevada would be swept along toward recovery no matter what.

Finally, he said he still has a lot of work to do in education. This is certainly true… Nevada still ranks at the bottom regarding education. Unfortunately, whatever he has done the past four years hasn’t changed this. It is bothersome he brings it up as a “must do” item now. I wonder why education was not on the his “to do” list four years ago?

Sandoval proves a vacant governor’s office is a good idea and would save money too. He has has had little effect on Nevada other than reducing state employee benefits and laying off hundreds of them so he can brag about it to his conservative friends.

Let’s lay him off but let’s not brag. It would be unseemly to do so.

February 14, 2014 / jimnv

The “Newspaper” Is Blinded By Hate

This week, the Las Vegas Review Journal (“newspaper”) recently published an article that discussed PERS retirement payments. In that fluff piece, they mentioned the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s (NPRI) “Transparent Nevada” website. That website now has a searchable database of retired Nevada public employees based on January 2014 PERS pay register data. 

To calculate an annual retirement amount, the January monthly amount was multiplied by twelve. Though most of the annual amounts should be reasonably accurate, there will be some wildly inaccurate pay information. So, to write something credible about PERS is impossible at this time. Please read a very good an article by Anjeanette Damon called, “Publishing incomplete Nevada PERS data is irresponsible“, Reno Gazette Journal, February 13, 2014.

The new database is simply a voyeuristic act by NPRI with help from the “newspaper”. The new database serves no valid investigative journalistic purpose and unfortunately encourages public ridicule and disdain toward retirees.

The NPRI and the “newspaper” are irresponsible.

Their hatred of public employees is very clear and has been the cornerstone of their reporting about public employees for decades.  This parochial mentality blinds them to the truth.

When they write about public employees, they lash out like children on a playground. It is too bad they can not be spanked for this reprehensible behavior.

 FYI: The NPRI is a conservative political “think” tank with IRS charity status.

February 2, 2014 / jimnv

RGJ: Why They Wanted PERS Information

The Reno Gazette Journal’s Executive Editor, Kelly Scott published an interesting column today about why the paper requested information from PERS. It is an interesting read and worth a few minutes of your time. Here is the link:  http://www.rgj.com/article/20140202/NEWS/302020029/Kelly-Scott-Why-we-ve-asked-PERS-data

This is part of what she wrote in that column:

“That data was requested as one part of our examination into the future of our state’s Public Employees’ Retirement System.

We are examining the system for signs of corruption, inefficiencies and unethical or illegal behavior. We hope to independently review the entire system to ensure that it is not being abused. We also want to examine the benefit packages of elected public officials.

We have no intention of printing the names of all 47,000 people in the system and their associated benefits unless that specific information is directly relevant to stories we pursue.”

Reno Gazette Journal, February 2, 2014, “Kelly Scott: Why we’ve asked for the PERS data

I am confident that NV PERS complies with Nevada’s laws regarding public employee retirement.  I believe state retirees, after decades of public service for low pay, deserve every penny they receive.  I am looking forward to reading future RGJ studies regarding PERS.

P.S. Let’s hope the Las Vegas “newspaper” will stop its voyeurism of state retirees and public employees in general.

Kelly Scott’s contact information: (775) 327-6785, kscott@rgj.com

January 30, 2014 / jimnv

Using Public Info for What?

After a court order, the Nevada PERS released some information about retirement pay of its retirees. In response, the LV Review Journal, no friend of any public employee, published an article on January 30th describing how much some notable retired public employees make. The article was simple and simply written to titillate, misinform and engender bad feelings towards all public retirees. Calling out some individuals for possible public rebuke serves no public good.

The article is also an incredibly amateurish response.

Publishing lists and cherry picking data is a simple and easy way to attack public employees. It is not newsworthy. The new PERS list is no different from the many Nevada public employee pay lists found on various sites.  Lists don’t mean anything and right now Nevadans are left with little other than that. 

Newspapers claim they serve the public and it seems they think creating a list is all they need to do. It’s not.The question is, “What’s the purpose of the list or any public list?”  Yes, it informs the public, but what can be gleaned from the data? This is what journalism is supposed to be. It’s about digging deep, looking for questions needing answers.

Nevada’s news agencies must stop with simplistic and sensational stories like the one published in the “newspaper” mentioned previously.That’s so junior high school.

 

January 28, 2014 / jimnv

PERS letter about retiree’s pay information being public

PERS letter

January 18, 2014 / jimnv

Even More Bad News for Sandoval – PERS is doing Great!

Last week, PERS representatives told the Legislative Interim Retirement and Benefits Committee that their  assets increased by over $3 billion dollars for this fiscal year. (which started July 1, 2013).  They went on to say that PERS’ total assets were $31.8 billion and the rate of return for the last fiscal year which ended June 30, 2013 was 12.4 percent. The average rate of return over the past 29 years is 9.4 percent.  Incredible!

These earnings are despite the Great Recession which decimated the financial viability of millions of Americans.

Also, their management costs are just one tenth of one percent of plan assets. This is an incredibly low figure. Management costs are so low, that this alone saves about $110 million a year when compared with an “average” pension fund.

Of course this is very bad news for Sandoval and his cronies. Your know them … the ones who continually spout the same time-worn narrative that PERS is doomed and Nevadans will have to pick up the pieces. I recently read an article about a right-wing “think” tank in Las Vegas. Their analyst stated that PERS was about to collapse and take Nevada with it. Expect more of the same as we get closer to the 2015 legislative session which starts early next year.

When will the bull stop? Never, unfortunately. But at least we have some great news and know that Sandoval won’t be pleased about it.

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