VSEA thanks everyone who came to the hearing. For a while there, it was standing room only, sending a strong message to the Commission that state employees and teachers are engaged and are watching the debate closely.
VSEA & NEA members scolded the Commission for not having a single state employee or teacher representative.
One disturbing revelation from today’s meeting: The out-of-state law firm hired by the Commission to provide a report on Vermont’s current retirement and health care system bills itself on its website as a law firm that can help businesses with "union avoidance!" Scary.
A special Retirement Commission created to recommend ways to restore funding to depleted state employee and teacher retirement and health care funds was greeted today by a packed roomful of angry, fired up working Vermonters.
The best news to come out of today’s meeting was a unanimous voice vote by Commission members not to touch the retirement and health care benefits of state employees and teachers who are already retired.
Many active state employees and teachers testified to the Commission about their fears and concerns related to several adverse funding proposals being floated by certain Commission members. Some of the more troublesome ideas were thrown out by the Commission, but some still remain and will continue to be vetted until the Commission develops its final proposal(s).
Commission Chair Treasurer Jeb Spaulding did promise the audience that public hearings would be held to hear comment on any proposal(s) agreed to by the Commission. Some VSEA members in the crowd recommended that several public hearings be held across the state, so impacted Vermonters statewide can testify. VSEA members also suggested that the Commission schedule the meetings at night or on weekends so more employees can attend.
More tomorrow on what ideas were eliminated and retained.