JANUARY 9, 2009 – 10:30 AM
Boyd Cline, FURA Vice President and Steering Committee Member, called the meeting to order at 10:40 am. He welcomed the 200 members in attendance and introduced and thanked Barbara Mendes, CRTA President, for the use of the facility. Ms. Mendes addressed the FURA members and spoke of membership in CRTA.
FURA Attorney Bob Bezemek introduced FURA Attorney David Conway and Esta Grill. Este has replaced Almira Marrone while she is attending law school at Duke University. Bob gave a full overview of the case from the onset to present.
Due to attorney/client privilege, no other information regarding this portion of the meeting will be made available to the public. To obtain a confidential copy of the full minutes please contact: FURA
PO Box 1717
Clovis CA 93613
All written requests must be signed by a FURA member and a $5.00 check or money order made payable to FURA.
Boyd introduced Vivienne Oxley, FURA Assistant Treasurer and Steering Committee Member. Vivienne gave an update regarding the retiree list from FUSD. There is an addition of 824 names/addresses; there are over 3,000 people on the list. Also, there are email addresses without names, the names are needed to remove them (the addresses) from the “snail mail” list. Don Kisner, FURA Web Master and Steering Committee Member, advised that 43 emails were returned due to spam filters.
FURA President Carole Sarkisian-Bonard addressed the group. She gave a special thank you to Don Kisner, Flo and Steve Deak, Vivien Oxley, Helen Duda, Pat Mitchell and other FURA volunteers for time spent preparing the newsletters for mailing; she acknowledged appreciation to Barbara and Tim Thomas for use of their PO Box for FURA. Carole addressed the numerous calls regarding the hardship many of our seniors are experiencing because of the imposed health premiums. Our members planned for their retirement incomes on what they had been told for the entirety of their careers now find themselves in a financial bind. It was noted that most retirees are not able to get another job to make ends meet, at their ages, who would hire them? Carole updated the group on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) retirees and thanked them for their $350 donation to FURA. The LAUSD retirees found FURA online and realized the Chief Negotiator for LAUSD is also the same Chief Negotiator for FUSD who imposed the health premiums on us.
She (Carole) advised the group that FURA is working cooperatively with the retirees from LAUSD and Clovis Unified to help protect and preserve lifetime health benefits. She reminded the attendees that in August of 2005 the Board of Education ratified that the Joint Health Management Board (JHMB) be empowered exclusively to determine our benefit rights without Board approval. Carole closed by reminding the retirees that FURA’s fight to keep the District’s promise of lifetime, premium free benefits everyone equally.
Boyd thanked Carole and introduced Sally England, FURA Steering Committee Member and Barbara Thomas, FURA Treasurer and Steering Committee Member. Sally stressed how important donations to FURA are in order to pay Bob. She reminded the retirees when the case is won, money that was paid to FUSD for premiums and assessments will be returned with interest. She said $5 to $10 dollars monthly would be very helpful and encouraged each person to contribute as much as they can regardless of amount. Barbara Thomas encouraged donations also. She said FURA has paid Bob a significant amount but that we owe a even larger amount. We will have expenses for more depositions and copying. She reminded people that FURA is a non-profit organization. Barbara is making application on behalf on FURA for Federal Tax Exempt status.
Tim Thomas gave a special, heartfelt thank you to Bob, David and the Bezemek law office staff on behalf of FURA. The retirees showed their agreement and appreciation by loud applause and ovation.
Bob Bezemek thanked the retirees. He said the District’s promise of lifetime premium free benefits was agreed to in December of 1976 and ratified by the Board in January of 1977. Bob told the retirees who had stated they had specific knowledge and/or documents to leave their names, phone numbers and addresses so he or a staff member could speak with them individually.
He clearly told the retirees that the benefits were earned and a vested right. The motion for Class Certification will be filed in two weeks. It is a workable class, 5,000 people. The class is easy to identify to meet eligibility, evidence is brought all at once, same questions and common facts. It is an earned common, vested right based on ten or sixteen years of service and age. The facts apply to everyone equally and it is beneficial to everyone. FURA members were encouraged to send copies of documents they may have in their possession to: Robert J. Bezemek, Attorney At Law, 1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 936, Oakland, Ca., 93642
Bob said everything will be filed by June 30, 2009. September will be a key time to defend allegations and trial will be on Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 3:30pm. Judge Donald Franson will rule on the case. Bob answered questions from the group.
Meeting adjourned at 11:50 a. m. FURA legal team and FURA Steering Committee members met with many retirees after the formal meeting to receive input and information.
Respectfully submitted, Melinda Homola
FURA, Secretary and Steering Committee Member