City of San Diego Retired Employees Association
May 12, 2020
Board Meeting Minutes
NOTES: All votes were unanimous unless otherwise noted
To adhere to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, the meeting was held via Zoom online meeting service
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Dick Wilken at 9:30am.
Board Members Present: Jim Baross, Mike Bresnahan, Chris Brewster, Karen Butler, Shirley Hall, Joan Hernandez, Charlie Hogquist, Brad Jacobsen, Joan McNamara, Ty Rogers, Mary Ann Stepnowsky, John Tsiknas, Dave Twomey, Dick Wilken, and Janet Wood
Guests Present: Joe Flynn
AGENDA: There were no additions or changes to the agenda.
PRESIDENT’S REMARKS: None
MINUTES: The minutes of the April 2020 Board meeting were approved.
COMMUNICATIONS: Dick received an email from Dave Wood, who was concerned that the City might underfund the retirement system as a means of closing the budget deficit due to loss of revenue from the COVID pandemic. Charlie reported that the SDCERS Board has heard nothing about this and that the next payment by the City will be on July 1, with a public announcement likely on June 1. It was also noted that most of the current councilmembers are well aware of the previous pension underfunding fiasco and have no desire to repeat that venture. Federal relief funds can and will be used to close the deficit. In addition, Michael Zucchet is monitoring Council activities.
Dick reached out to Stacey LoMedico to gauge her interest in becoming an active member of REA. She is currently working on some political issues that might create a conflict of interest, but may join the Advocacy Committee in January.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Karen reported that there was not much activity, and that our $3000 contribution to the San Diego Foundation was made. It was reported that the Foundation donated $1 million to the Y to provide childcare during the summer.
M/S/C to accept the April Treasurer’s Report.
INVESTMENT COMMITTEE REPORT: The fund is maintaining its 50/50 balance. The Russell 3000 is outperforming the Money Market account.
M/S/C to accept the Investment Committee Report.
RETIREMENT BOARD REPRESENTATIVE’S REPORT
Charlie reported that the 2% COLA was approved by the SDCERS Board, and that the investment fund is still over $8 billion.
Dick expressed concern about a posting on the SDCERS Facebook page about a possible national deflation and was concerned about impacts on COLA. Charlie explained that retirees will always get their base retirement pay; the amount can never be adjusted below that amount.
1) Dick explained the structure of SDPEBA’s Virtual Benefits Fair. The various vendors will have “booths” that retirees can enter and get live information from vendor staff via text. The fair will be held on June 1 and 2. Dick, Jim, Mary Ann, Mike, and Karen have been instrumental in arranging for REA’s participation; Janet, John, and Joan McNamara will join them in taking staffing shifts.
In addition, it was reported that MEA is looking into a possible suspension of dental insurance premium payments until dental offices can reopen and provide services.
2) Dave updated the Board on our Image Enhancement Campaign. Carl Luna’s Restoring Respect conference has been rescheduled to October. He looked into partnering with Mama’s Kitchen but there is no way to publicly acknowledge our contributions. One possibility is National Reading Day in January; REA would contribute money to buy books that would be given to children by the PTA at a school in Council District 4. The Advocacy Committee will discuss this proposal at its May meeting.
3) Joan reported an REA member recommended the Miniature Crafts Museum in Carlsbad as a possible outing.
Advocacy: In addition to the National Reading Day program, the committee will prioritize other non-profits that were suggested during the brainstorming sessions with Trudy Sopp. The next meeting will be May 28 via Zoom. Board members who are not on the committee but who wish to participate should email Mike to be sent the agenda.
Membership: There has been no change to membership; we are still at 1619.
Newsletter: Deadline for the next issue is May 18.
Past President: No report.
Website: No report.
OTHER RETIREE/ACTIVE EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION REPORTS
Retiree Issues Task Force (RITF): No report.
Retirement Security Roundtable: Chris reported that the cases that could affect the California Rule are at the State Supreme Court. It was impossible to tell which way the justices were leaning during arguments, although their questions focused on pension spiking, which was not prevalent in San Diego; this could mean a narrow ruling that leaves the California Rule intact but addresses only the spiking aspect.
MEA: No report.
Other Retired Public Employee Associations: No report
PROGRAMS: We will wait and see when the rec centers reopen, and then decide if it is wise to hold live meetings with social distancing but without lunches. As seniors are an at-risk population for COVID, alternative meeting forms such as Zoom may be preferable. The July speaker, Hasan Ikhrata of SANDAG, is open to a virtual meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:02am.