As a retiree, I’d like to clarify my position on several issues regarding the Retirement Fund. I’ve been reading the local papers the past few days and am totally flabbergasted, frustrated, and irked by some of the statements attributed to be representing “the retirees.” Granted, the majority rules, and perhaps this is the case in several of these statements made publicly. However, as a retiree, I would like to voice my comments and clarify my position, which is NOT supportive of such moves.
Recently I learned that Brown Rudnick LLP and Braddock Huesman, LLC filed a couple of documents in the District Court (Revised Proposal of Debtor for Entry of Order Pursuant to First Modified Benefits Motion Providing for the Continued Payment of Certain Benefits to Beneficiaries [Docket No. 154]; and Notice of Hearing Re: Debtor’s Revised Proposal for Entry of Order Pursuant to First Modified Benefits Motion Providing for the Continued Payment of Certain Benefits to Beneficiaries [Docket No. 158]). Why are these outrageously highly paid attorneys still on payroll when the Fund has several in-house lawyers? Isn’t there any way to terminate this blundering contract since the bankruptcy is pretty much dismissed? If it’s within the authority of the Fund administrator, then he needs to take control and find a way to get rid of the highfalutin’ attorneys they hired, as they continue to siphon the dwindling retirement funds. If, as I’m told, “we’re stuck with them,” then he’d better have the in-house attorneys earn their pay by figuring out a way to put a stop to this blunder.
Another news I read states that a dedicated tax from pensions and benefits of retirees can make the idea of floating a bond attractive, that a special account under the Fund was also recommended to be established solely for these taxes. If this is an additional deduction to the already taxed pension, I do NOT support it nor do I support the plan to have my pensions deducted by 10 percent to guarantee the payment of the pension obligation bond. I spoke publicly against this at the meeting held at the Multi-Purpose Center. I have NOT changed my position on that. It’s one of the most ridiculous move there is. Our pensions are already being taxed. If the government or anyone else who support the pension obligation bond wants to guarantee its payment, then let them use 10 percent of what’s already deducted from our pension as income tax, or put up 10 percent of their budgets as guarantee. After all it is the government who owes the retirees, not the other way around. No, I do not agree to a 10-percent cut to guarantee the payment of the bond. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out why no retiree should support such a move! If the government wants to push for a bond to help pay its debt to the Fund, then the government should put up the 10 percent guarantee from its budgets, not from the retirees’ already taxed pensions.
Another thing I read is the Commonwealth Retirees Association suggesting that the retirees hire an attorney to fight the executive order to restructure the Fund. What for? Why is the CRA going to spend more money hiring more attorneys? There are already attorneys involved with a lawsuit in the district court to try and collect the money the government owes the Retirement Fund. If the CRA has the money to hire attorneys, then give it to those who are already involved in the Roe and Doe case in the district court. At this stage, we really don’t have any other alternative but to unite in supporting this case-everything else has failed, including the Superior Court, which we initially hoped would solve the problem, but has not. Instead, it just made it worse by more siphoning of the funds. Right now, I’d rather take my chances with the district court than a receiver appointed by the Superior Court.
I know I’m stepping on several toes with this letter but it had to be said and bluntly as can be so there’s no misunderstanding of where I stand on this issues, especially the suggestions by CRA supposedly on my behalf as a retiree.
San Antonio, Saipan