Retired, active public employees in Laurel discuss PERS

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Retired and active state employees gathered with lawmakers and representatives of the Mississippi Retired Public Employees Association in Laurel Tuesday night to discuss possible upcoming changes to the Public Employees Retirement System, or PERS.

Many of those that met at the Laurel Courthouse are concerned a study commission appointed by Governor Haley Barbour will call for cuts in benefits to retirees.  They're also worried the commission might suggest the system shift away from paying guaranteed monthly benefits to paying benefits that would vary from month to month.

Sam Valentine, the president of the Mississippi Retired Public Employees Association is asking lawmakers to make their positions clear on the issue before next Tuesday's general election.

"We want to know where the candidates stand before our membership casts their vote," said Valentine. "And that's what we're encouraging them to do, find out where the candidates stand on key issues relative to the health of our retirement system." Valentine said.

That study commission is expected to issue a formal report in a couple of weeks.

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