I am honored to be your newly elected President and am looking forward to working with your Board of Directors as we continue to grow and develop our organization so we can better serve our members.

First, many thanks to Jim Baross. Jim just ended his fifth term as REA President (10 years!). He will stay active on the Board as the Immediate Past President. During Jim’s tenure, the REA Board increased our emphasis on Advocacy, initiated extensive networking with other public retiree organizations, grew our membership from 1,100 to over 1,600, insured that REA operates more professionally, and improved our effectiveness in communicating with our members.

The REA Board annually holds an off-site Retreat to review accomplishments from the past year and plan new goals for the coming year. At last December’s Retreat, we noted a number of significant accomplishments for 2019: We rolled out a new website, www.csdrea.org, which has a new look and feel and much improved functionality. For the first time, it is ‘mobile compliant’ meaning the site morphs to fit the screen, whether you use a desktop or laptop computer, notebook, or smart phone. We also moved to a new email platform which allows readers easier access to our monthly Newsletter and eBlasts, partnered with Dr. Carl Luna and USD to co-sponsor the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement’s “Restoring Respect Conference,” conducted a number of interesting and well-attended tours of San Diego institutions, and finally, REA Advocacy VP Mike Bresnahan briefed all councilmembers about REA. Board-adopted 2020 goals include: briefing newly-elected Mayor and Council members, reaching out to future Prop B retirees, continuing REA tours, building a working relationship with the City’s Risk Management Staff, and piloting a program to improve the image of public sector retirees. This would involve partnering with other organizations to have REA be better known and public retirees viewed more favorably by the general public and by elected officials who make decisions affecting the rights of retirees.

It looks like a good beginning for the New Year, building on past successes and breaking new ground. So, if you are not a member, we urge you to join, and if you are a member, “tell a friend.” There is strength in numbers.