These are interesting times we are living in. As I travel the State talking with current Legislators and candidates, we have a broad topic of issues to discuss. From the legalization of marijuana, to modernization of the State personnel system, to the State retirement system, to the culture of law enforcement today: all of these become just a few of the main topics of conversation.
During a national election year, it’s important to evaluate the individual issues, and the individual candidates, that support our values and concerns. This past legislative year was a very active year as it relates to State employee benefits and employment. There will be an issue on this year’s ballot that was referred by the State Legislature that will change the constitutional provisions of the State personnel law. We also faced several challenges that could have changed the retirement security of our members. It will be our individual responsibility to research and evaluate those issues and see which elected officials are closely aligned with our values. The board of directors of your association recently sent letters to current legislators that supported our issues in this last legislative session. That list is a good resource for study in listing those worthy of your support in the next election.
Colorado PERA issues continue to be topics you will need to discuss with candidates you are considering supporting. Several individuals continue to be misinformed about the sustainability of the retirement trust fund. The changes that were made in 2010 in SB-1 were comprehensive and required sacrifices from retirees, current and future employees. That comprehensive reform legislation in Colorado has now become a national model for change in the pension systems is several States. Several independent studies and audits by national and international firms have concluded that Colorado PERA is on a sustainable path and that the trust fund is a valuable, cost-effective benefit for employees and taxpayers. There are several sources that can be researched to drive home that important point. Two recent Pacey & McNulty studies outline the economic benefits to Colorado. The transparency and accountability of Colorado PERA continues to be the standard that audit firms document as the most transparent in the industry. This year’s audit by the State Audit committee, conducted by KPMG, LLP, (one of the “Big Four” in the US), resulted in a “Clean Opinion”. It is so important that our members do their homework about the sustainable path our trust fund is on, so that you as a PERA member can speak factually about the good story that is Colorado PERA. An effective strategy of knowing and communicating the facts about PERA motivates the base of supporters, while educating those who are uninformed. A good resource for that information is the Colorado PERA web site. We cannot allow the entertainment media and the bias print media to influence a change in public policy that would be bad for Colorado and it’s public employees.
There will be several important issues that will shape our communities and the State that will require your action as a voter. Your Association Board has taken a position against Amendment 64, the legalization of Marijuana in Colorado. As a member of the law enforcement community of Colorado there’s no need to state the obvious on this one. The adverse affects and the negative image that this amendment brings to Colorado cannot be over-stated.
Looking forward, it’s important to continue to work with the current administration on correcting the path our compensation packages have been going for several years. Just a word of THANKS to those who continue to support the ACSPP in our battle over correcting the policies associated with the State’s total compensation.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to get out there and vote and send a message by participating in our system to protect our way of life, supporting our values and the profession of Law Enforcement.
It’s an honor to work on your behalf,
Terry L. Campbell