A new year and new opportunities for our retirees

By: By Richard Rogers - Guest columnist

As we head into 2017, we are reminded of the promise of a new year in which we hope to see the spirit of collaboration across party lines – regardless of the issues to be faced.

The North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association (NCRGEA) congratulates all of North Carolina’s recently elected officials, from the new Governor and Treasurer to all members of the Senate and House of Representatives in the General Assembly. We’re eager to collaborate to ensure government retirees receive the benefits promised to them for their service to our great state.

Securing a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for local and state government retirees remains a priority for NCRGEA. COLA increases are absolutely essential for retirees living on fixed incomes. The improved economy has opened doors for state and local government to allocate funds toward COLAs for government retirees in North Carolina.

NCRGEA is committed to maintaining the existing defined-benefit system, as it provides state and local government employees with security upon retirement. During an August 7, 2016 TV interview on “NC SPIN”, Treasurer-elect Dale Folwell said, “I’m in favor of preserving the defined-benefit plan that exists for North Carolina employees both now and in the future.”

Safeguarding the benefits promised to government retirees directly impacts North Carolina’s current workforce, as Governor-elect Roy Cooper noted in his response to a survey before election day. “Change would create uncertainty for workers and could have a negative impact on our economy, and it could drive away top talent from seeking public service jobs,” he said.

It is crucial for our state and local governments to understand the invaluable service public employees provide to North Carolina. They educate our children, provide for public safety and law enforcement, help build and maintain our public transportation systems, protect our natural resources and wildlife, and support our agricultural industry. These critical efforts are just a few of those performed by the many public servants in our wonderful state. We must remember these workers often receive below market salaries; on the promise that they’ll obtain delayed benefits upon retirement. We must honor and protect the significant value public workers provide to North Carolina.

By Richard Rogers

Guest columnist

Richard Rogers is the executive director of the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association.

Richard Rogers is the executive director of the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association.