by Bill de la Garza
Well, good friends, by the time you receive this Newsletter, you should be happy to know that you received a Cost of Living increase on your April retirement check. Many of us received 2%, but some received more and some less depending on their Plan and their retirement dates.
Two percent does not sound like much, but you should be pleased to know that the COLA program is doing exactly what it was designed to do. I personally, am a good example of the merits of the COLA program. Since I retired over 22 years ago my retirement allowance that I receive every month from LACERA has compounded and more than doubled. To put it simply, the cost of living has continued to significantly increase over the years and if it was not for the COLA program I, as well as many other County retirees, would be financially hurting. Not many career Los Angeles County retirees are on welfare. Yes, we are very fortunate.
Being a Board Member of LACERA and RELAC has afforded me the opportunity of attending conferences and networking with numerous other county board members from throughout the State of California. I have learned that many California counties do not have a COLA program for their retirees, nor do they have retiree medical benefits that compare with ours. Some county retirees from neighboring counties such as San Bernardino have had their promised payments from the general funds taken away from them by their own Board of Supervisors. Hearing stories of this type make me realize how fortunate we are in Los Angeles County that our County Government officials work in concert with our retirement system (LACERA) and our Retirement Association (RELAC) for the purpose of protecting our promised retirement benefits.
As far as RELAC, and as your President, I am pleased to report that we are having a very successful year. Our Board of Directors and standing committees are doing well in planning programs and activities that benefit you. I again urge you to carefully read this issue of our newsletter and learn about what we are doing in our efforts to better serve you. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome.
Until next time and as customary, I leave you with this thought:
"Life is Short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile."