PERS Issues Demand Letter to Retirees Elected to MS House
Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted by: Kelly Riley
Rep. Dale Goodin shared the following via Facebook earlier today:
“Today I received a letter from PERS cutting my retirement benefits and informing me that I must pay thousands of dollars back because I am serving in the Legislature as the Representative for District 105 serving the great people of George, Greene and Perry counties. PERS retirees cannot serve as a Senator or Representative and collect their hard earned retirement. That means ALL 110,000 retirees, as a class, are being discriminated against just because they are PERS retirees. When 110,000 PERS retirees get fired up, this law will change. Please let your legislators know you want this law changed. Prayers will be appreciated.”
Goodin is one of four state retirees elected last year to the Mississippi House of Representatives:
- Rep. Billy Andrews of Purvis, a former legislator, county judge, and youth court judge
- Rep. Ramona Blackledge of Laurel, a retired county tax assessor/collector
- Rep. Jerry Darnell of Hernando, a retired educator
- Rep. Dale Goodin of Richton, a retired educator
The PERS Board of Trustees revised Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement, last year to allow legislators to draw their retirement (from previous state service) if they only draw a portion of their legislative pay. Speaker Philip Gunn has refused to allow the four to be paid a smaller percentage of their legislative pay, as he considers it double dipping for them to receive their legislative pay and their retirement. Rep. Ramona Blackledge resigned effective January 31 following Gunn’s refusal to reduce the four legislators’ pay, but Representatives Andrews, Darnell and Goodin continue to serve. Rep. Andrews commented on Goodin’s post that he received the same demand letter from PERS.
As shared in a post last Wednesday (2/5/20), two bills that would have enabled PERS retirees to serve in the Mississippi Legislature were introduced, voted on by a committee, and killed within the course of that afternoon. House Appropriations killed HB 601 and HB 604. In a rare move for a vote by committee, roll call votes were taken on both bills, indicating Speaker Gunn wanted a record of how committee members voted.
You may share your thoughts with your state representative regarding retirees’ right to serve in the legislature and draw their PERS retirement. Click here for contact information for House members. Legislators will return to the capitol Monday afternoon, February 17. You may contact Speaker Gunn’s office at 601-359-3300. You may leave a message for House members with the Capitol Switchboard by calling 601-359-3770.