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Public employee benefits

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To the editor: Something is seriously amiss within the Retired Public Employees of Alaska (RPEA), an organization chartered to ensure that constitutionally-protected state of Alaska retirement benefits are not diminished.

RPEA is limited to protecting retirees’ constitutional benefits. RPEA is neither empowered nor chartered under its bylaws to negotiate or mediate benefits with the state on behalf of RPEA members or nonmember retirees. However, on Dec. 23, RPEA’s executive board decided to indefinitely pause its pending medical diminishment lawsuit against the state in favor of mediation. The case originally was scheduled to go to trial in February. Mediation is now proposed for February. This decision was made without consultation or opportunity for RPEA members to voice their opinions. The executive board member subject to two recall petitions chairs the committee that recommended mediation. Last summer three incumbent executive officers and the sole administrative support person were pressured to resign. Subsequently, two member-driven recall petitions were submitted. The current recall petition enumerates misconduct charges against a specific board officer. The executive board did not allow the membership access to the petitions, denying the membership an opportunity to evaluate the petitions and determine whether either should be supported.

RPEA’s next monthly executive board meeting is 10 a.m. Jan. 18 via Zoom (see rpea-ak.org/eboard.html for details). The recall petition and RPEA’s planned mediation will be discussed. Please plan to attend. The voices of RPEA members and all state retirees must be heard.

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