MAY 14, 2008 – 3:30PM
AHWAHNEE MIDDLE SCHOOL
FURA President Carole Sarkisian-Bonard called the meeting to order at 3:35pm. She welcomed the over 400 FURA members in attendance. Carole referred to the article in the Fresno Bee about FURA, published front page on May 10, 2008, as accurate, fair and informative. There was an interchange of comments, with Carole and the audience, regarding forfeited raises to maintain lifetime-premium free retiree health benefits. The members were vocal that they were promised lifetime free benefits by FUSD. Carole gave a chronological review of how FURA started, how she found attorney Robert “Bob” Bezemek and of the numerous successes Bob has had winning for other school district retirees whose districts tried to impose fees or alter their vested rights. She praised Bob for his commitment to FURA and introduced Bob Bezemek and David Conway, our new attorney assisting Bob with FURA.
Bob’s presentation topics were “from day one to the present,” the “theory of the case” and “evidence documents.” He told the audience of what to expect next; depositions, discovery, trial. The Court ruled, March 20th in FURA’s favor on all 6 points, 5 on merit, 1 on mandamus. The District appealed the ruling to the 5th District Court. Bob anticipates the case will conclude in 2009. He spoke of three other lawyers in various places who are defending the “same cases” as ours. They are in touch and all feel very confident about the FURA case. Bob answered numerous questions from FURA members. Many, many members wanted to give statements regarding what, when and where they were told by FUSD of their retiree benefits. Bob received an deafening, long applause of appreciation.
Carole resumed as moderator, there was discussion about deferred compensation and of benefits being part of our wages, total compensation. A Clovis Unified Retiree Association (CURA) member stated that he has paid over $14,000 in fees, not including co-pays, in the four years since he retired; married couples, regardless of age, pay $648 per month. FURA members continued to volunteer information of the “promises” made to them and that they were recruited, some left other jobs, into FUSD for the lifetime premium free benefits. It was acknowledged repeatedly about foregoing raises for the benefits. California protects retiree benefits more than any other state.
Vivien Oxley and Glen Rathwick were introduced by Carole. Vivien gave the treasurer’s report for Barbara Thomas. Glen requested donations and shook his “tin-cup!” FURA members generously wrote checks and donated cash.
The case management/status conference (CMC) with Judge Franson is Thursday, May 15, 2008.
FURA attendees, again, gave Bob a tremendous, rousing applause! Well deserved!
Meeting adjourned, approximately 5:00 pm.
Submitted by, Melinda Homola, FURA secretary.