Category Archives: Articles

FUSD DEPENDENT AUDIT

The District’s Joint Health Management Board is conducting an audit of the participants and dependents on the District’s health plan.

  • Call immediately for an appointment as time slots are filling up quickly.
  • For those living out of town, arrange with the insurance company (American Fidelity) to have your information mailed and arrangements for your documents to be sent back to you.
  • Many retirees have expressed deep concern about providing the first two pages of our 2006 IRS tax return. Remember, the District is not conducting the audit but rather an independent insurance company.tio
  • Read the letter carefully. You will note that the insurance company will provide retirees with information regarding various insurance plans, annuities, etc. Remember: you are not under any obligation to buy anything!

It was disheartening to note in the Joint Health Management’s letter that no one may telephone the district office, either Benefits or Human Resources, for assistance. Carole Sarkisian-Bonard

MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES

The following information was provided by Mike Starry:

Marriage certificates are available from every state at: http://www.vitalchek.com. Regular mail averages $20. Three to five business days averages a $15.00 additional charge.

GET A RECEIPT THAT YOU ATTENDED THE AUDIT INTERVIEW

It has been recommended that retirees ask for a signed receipt when they attend the audit interview. One way to do that, it was suggested, is to take FUSD’s letter requiring the audit and have the representative from American Fidelity sign and date it.

THE FOLLOWING IS POSTED HERE AT THE REQUEST OF MIKE STARRY

Hello Central California Health Care for All activists.

Our local part of the OneCareNow campaign for the Health Care for All bill, SB840, will climax with the Fresno event, to be held August 6. Everyone from our six counties (Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Inyo, Mono) is encouraged to come.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Fresno Veterans Memorial Auditorium downtown at 2425 Fresno Street. Seating will be limited by use of free tickets, but the auditorium is big, so don’t hold back.

The plan is to show the movie “Sicko”, or if that cannot be arranged, a movie about Big Pharma. We will hear valley voices on the health care crisis, including representatives of Sen. Kuehl, Sen. Florez, the Fresno City Council, HCA, CARA, CSEA, CTA, FTA, and others. There will also be personal stories of people’s troubles with insurance companies or no insurance.

If you can help, or would like more information about attending this event, contact Gene Roza or Joyce Hale (info below). A flyer will be distributed soon.

Also, the following Saturday, August 11, is the final rally for this year’s One Care Now Campaign in California. This event will be in Los Angeles:

The “Great LA Health Rally” will take place at 1 pm on the South Lawn of the LA’s City Hall to encourage lawmakers to eliminate insurance companies from the health care equation in California. The rally will begin with a procession of hearses from Santa Monica to the City Hall and will feature live music, celebrity speakers such as Lily Tomlin, legislator Sheila Kuehl, Lt. Governor John Garamendi and others. It promises to be an action packed day, another opportunity to make our voices heard.

People from all over the state will be attending this rally. If you would like to carpool to this event, and could either supply a ride, or would like a ride, please contact me (Devin Carroll), at 439-6368, devinc@sbcglobal.net. (email may get quicker response). We will try to accomodate everyone, but this will require some volunteers who will accept passengers.

Thanks to everyone for all of their work this year. Our chapter has done a great job!

Devin Carroll

Co-Chair

HCA – Central California

Hale, Joyce (CSEA) 244-5315 (work phone at CSEA office) jhale@csea.com

Roza, Gene (CARA, CWA) m. 905-3521 c21generoza2aol.com

Letter of concern regarding the Joint Health Management Board of FUSD audit:

Letter written by FURA Steering Committee Member Rog Lucido, retired teacher.

Dear Superintendent Hanson, FTA President, Larry Moore and FUSD Board Members,

I have received a letter from the JHMB requesting that I verify my dependent eligibility for health benefits to continue. I am a 2004 retiree. This is not an unreasonable request, but the agency that will be conducting the audit are not employees of the FUSD Benefits Office nor a legitimate contracted, bonded auditing agency. AFA is nothing more than an independent insurance company. They have no right to any of my personal information, whether it is in the form of my marriage certificate or a copy of the first two pages of my 2006 income tax.

As is stated on p2: ” During these confidential one-on-one sessions with the AFA benefits counselor you will verify your information and the counselor will be available to discuss benefits, section 125 options, and other insurance programs that may be important to you. There is absolutely no obligation to purchase any American Fidelity products.”

This is a complete sham. I should not be threatened to attend a session that determines my district benefits and be a captive audience to insurance options that I and many other employees and retirees have no interest in. “Absolutely no obligation to purchase” is a common sales tactic. I and all other benefits recipients are being put in a position of “obligation” to an independent insurance company.

It is sufficient that I should have to spend time and energy in cooperating with a reasonable district request without having to listen to a sales job with personal information that should not go beyond the bounds of legitimate district personnel.

If this is not resolved to my satisfaction I will pursue direct methods of exposing this practice to the other employees, retirees and the public.

Rog ( Horace ) Lucido, Physics Instructor, Ret.
Program Evaluator
Adjunct Faculty, Fresno Pacific University
Phone: 559-277-1312
Cell: 559-355-4215
email: lucid4@cvip.net

Social Security Fairness Act

I am forwarding some information I received about some pending legislation that may affect teachers and their spouses. I am a FUSD retiree and my husband has retired from CSUF. While he receives his SS because he paid into it for over 30 years, I cannot receive a spouse’s or a widow’s benefit, due to the “Windfall Elimination Provision” enacted during the Reagan administration. This legislation affects spouses both of whom receive pensions from a public agency.

This windfall provision is unfair and discriminatory to educators.

* * *

Social Security Offset: This is an alert: Two federal laws, the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision, both under Title II of the Social Security Act, could cost you a significant portion of those taxes that you and / or your spouse paid into the system. As a teacher who will be collecting a pension from a public agency, you may not be eligible to collect a spouse’s benefits upon his / her death, and you will lose almost 2/3 of whatever benefits you have earned.

Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced the Social Security Fairness Act (S. 206) aimed at eliminating the WEP and GPO provisions of the Social Security Act. You can help support this effort. Call Senator Baucus (D-Montana), Finance Committee Chair, at 202-224-2651 or Senator Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Finance Committee, at (202) 224- 3744 and tell them you support S. 206. Please call now.

Submitted by Audrey C. Gendron

The Social Security Issue

If you do not want to drop a ‘dime’ on the phone call re your support of S. 206 here are Senator Baucus and Senator Grassley’s Contact web addresses: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/webreturn/?url=http://baucus.senate.gov http://grassley.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home

Submitted by: Mike Starry
Date Submitted: 6-13-07

FUSD’s real intentions

Since FUSD hired a putz/clutz for an attorney, then winning is not their intention. Since every previous retiree association has won their suits, FUSD’s forte is stalling, hoping that FURA will give up and stop paying our attorney. Since every district in the state has won similar suits, why should FUSD pay for a good attorney? Since we are not going away, only growing stronger, FUSD is only planning on losing. It is just a matter of when.

Submitted by: Mike Starry
Date Submitted: 6-13-07

Social Security Fairness Act

I am forwarding some information I received about some pending legislation that may affect teachers and their spouses. I am a FUSD retiree and my husband has retired from CSUF. While he receives his SS because he paid into it for over 30 years, I cannot receive a spouse’s or a widow’s benefit, due to the “Windfall Elimination Provision” enacted during the Reagan administration. This legislation affects spouses both of whom receive pensions from a public agency.

This windfall provision is unfair and discriminatory to educators.

* * *

Social Security Offset: This is an alert: Two federal laws, the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision, both under Title II of the Social Security Act, could cost you a significant portion of those taxes that you and / or your spouse paid into the system. As a teacher who will be collecting a pension from a public agency, you may not be eligible to collect a spouse’s benefits upon his / her death, and you will lose almost 2/3 of whatever benefits you have earned.

Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced the Social Security Fairness Act (S. 206) aimed at eliminating the WEP and GPO provisions of the Social Security Act. You can help support this effort. Call Senator Baucus (D-Montana), Finance Committee Chair, at 202-224-2651 or Senator Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Finance Committee, at (202) 224- 3744 and tell them you support S. 206. Please call now.

Submitted by Audrey C. Gendron
Date Submitted: April 12, 2007

Final Ratification

Dear FURA members,

On Wednesday, 8/24, the board has on its agenda ( below ) to RATIFY the tentative agreement which you can view at. Rog Lucido will be speaking in our behalf ( See his statement below the agenda item ). Other FURA members are encouraged to come and speak also.

AGENDA ITEM

B. CONFERENCE/DISCUSSION AGENDA – continued

Agenda – Board of Education Regular Meeting Wednesday August 24, 2005

Page 8

6:45P.M.

B-26, OPPORTUNITY for Public Disclosure and RATIFY of the July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2007, Collective Bargaining Agreement Between the Fresno Unified School District and the Fresno Teachers Association:

In accordance with AB 1200 (Statutes of 1981, Chapter 1213), all major provisions of collective bargaining agreements are to be presented at a public meeting of the public school employer before they enter into a written agreement. Included in the Board binders is the tentative agreement between the District and the Fresno Teachers Association and the projected savings of this agreement. The Superintendent recommends ratification. Fiscal Impact: This Agreement includes reductions in the Unrestricted General fund of $8.8M in class size savings, $6.7M in health savings and a one-time health savings of $5.5M . The Agreement also includes a salary increase of $8.6M in the Unrestricted General fund. The salary increases are as follows: 2% effective with the first warrant of the 2005-2006 contract pay year. and a 1.1% effective January 1, 2006. A net savings of $12.4M for 2005-06. All reductions and increases are contingent upon agreement thereto by all other employee exclusive representatives and non-represented employees. Contact person: Eva L. Chavez, telephone 457-3624.

Rog’s remarks:

Dear President Medina, Clerk Mills, members of the board and superintendent Hanson. My name is Rog Lucido. I am a retired Fresno Unified physics teacher, having taught for over 38 years. I am a member of Fresno Unified Retirees Association and am here to share with you our concerns about this tentative agreement with FTA.

Retirees are no longer district employees. We do not belong to FTA. We have no voting rights, yet FTA is bargaining away our health benefits. There are 3,351 retirees and their spouses (1,927 add this to over 7,000 employees not including their dependents ) who may possibly be affected by this Tentative agreement. While this contract was being negotiated retirees were not contacted either by the district or FTA for input–not for a vote, not even just to ask us how this may affect us. The district may soon be sending all of us a bill to pay our premiums and assessments, so they do have our addresses. This was simply disrespect. Its not fun to be treated as a pawn after years of service to the district.

To make things worse, even though we are on a limited income, we will no longer know what to expect or if we have the ability to pay for our monthly contribution. According to this Tentative Agreement:

If the shortfall is less than three percent (3%), the Joint Health Management Board shall act immediately to increase eligible employee and/or retiree contributions or assessments, and/or modify plan design.

If the shortfall is three percent (3%) or more, the Health Plan Reserve Assessment shall automatically and immediately be increased for all eligible active employees and eligible pre-65 year old retirees.

The decision to increase contributions or modify the plan does not have to be ratified either by the FTA membership or the School Board and of course the Retirees have no rights at all in this matter. Because FTA will have more than 50% of the employee vote on the Joint Health Management Board, this renders the other employee unions also powerless. It should be noted that there is no stipulation about the JHMB ever decreasing employee and retiree contributions.

The school board has received much documentation from FURA’s Attorney, Robert Bezemek, as to the illegality of rescinding a negotiated health plan for vested retirees that has been in place for nearly 30 years. You cannot charge pre-65 and post-65 different premiums and assessment fees. This is age discrimination. To approve this Tentative Agreement is to present a false front that the current retiree’s contributions are critical to this contract. Does this school board really want to illegally collect that which you will soon have to return ? How will the county and state authorities as well as present and future employees view FUSD? It is not too late to say no to this tentative agreement and renegotiate it with justice for retirees and all employees alike.