About this Website
This website was created and is
maintained by webmaster Joe SanSevero. This is the latest program
of PARA to communicate with retirees more effectively. It is
a work in progress, and we hope to make it better and better in the
months and years ahead. We would like it to be the best resource
possible for you as a retiree, a place you can visit to find information
and news of interest, such as PA contacts for benefit information,
retiree reunions, new PA policies and procedures affecting retirees and
more. We welcome your input. If it's a question or comment
about PARA activities,
Click Here to E-Mail Dave
Gallagher. If it's a question or
comment about the PARA website,
to E-Mail Joe SanSevero. If after reading the History of PARA you
now think you may want to join PARA. Well then good for you
Click Here to
go to the Join PARA Dues page.
We conduct research, maintain
contact with the Port Authority, cooperate with other retiree
associations, encourage retirees to work together toward common goals
and develop programs in support of PARA objectives. From its
inception, a major activity of PARA has been to work closely with all
interested parties to promote better cost-of-living adjustments (COLA)
to retiree pensions. We are an active member of the Alliance
of Public Retiree Organizations of New York (APRO). While these
efforts have helped to achieve some key improvements thus far, much more
is needed. PARA is continuing to confer actively with other
retiree groups, the New York State comptroller, New York State
legislators and others to push for changes in legislation that will help
New York State retirees keep pace with increased living expenses.
In New Jersey, we have been
monitoring proposed pension law changes and working to obtain a more
equitable treatment of the pension deduction under New Jersey's gross
income tax provisions.
Through our para~phernalia
newsletter, we keep PARA members informed on our work to help achieve a
better COLA arrangement and on other topics of interest.
The Port Authority Retirees Association
Retirees depend on their pensions to
maintain their quality of life during their senior years, but over time
with inflation their purchasing power is diminished. Every few
years, the New York State Legislature would half heartedly recommend a
"supplement" for NY State Retirement System retirees and then forward
the legislation to the Governor for signature. More often than not
the Governor would not sign the legislation, thereby causing financial
hardships for many retirees.
In the early 1980's Comptroller Regan wrote to Governor Cuomo stating
that "an employee who retired in 1976 has only received supplementation
of 6% and yet the cost of living increased by 89%." This left many
Port Authority retirees thousands of dollars behind federal retirees and
pensioners from other states whose pensions were tied into the "Cost of
Living Adjustment" (COLA) index.
Therefore, it was clear that the pensions of Port Authority retirees
were not keeping pace with inflation, and something needed to be done.
Consequently, a concerned group of eight Port Authority retirees decided
to organize the power of all 3,000+ Port Authority retirees by creating
PARA and working with them and other NY State Retirement System retirees
to press for a COLA bill.
Those original eight Port Authority retirees who
created PARA were:
Harold A. Milley, President
Cyril V. Storer, Vice President
John A. Huston, Jr. Treasurer
Board Members -
Cletus F. Bamber
Ralph A. Johnson
Stephen P. Kenny
Francis H. Werneke
The PA Human Resources Department provided PARA an address list of all
Port Authority retirees. The first semi-annual PARA Newsletter
issued in May 1987 clearly identified the need for a COLA.
Retirees were made aware of the need for group action and were provided
names and addresses of those legislators who needed to be contacted
about the problem.
That first Newsletter also identified that PARA was working closely with
the Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA). RPEA includes all
of the New York State Retirement System retirees and has 19 active
chapters throughout New York State and several "retiree" states such as
Florida and the Carolinas. In fact, in the late 1980's PARA and
RPEA officers were instrumental in creating another group called the
Alliance of Public Retiree Organizations (APRO) that includes the
Retired Teachers Association, the Retired Police Association and many
other retiree groups that represent a total of over 500,000 retirees.
A PARA representative attends monthly APRO meetings in Albany to assure
that all NYS retirees are working together on common retiree issues.
The most important issue facing PARA, APRO, and RPEA was getting a COLA
adjustment. That effort finally proved successful...to a degree.
Your September 2000 pension check showed an increase of 50% of the
actual COLA index for the first $18,000 of your pension. In addition all
future pension checks will be increased annually in September based on
50% of the actual increase in the cost of living for the first $18,000.
We are clearly not satisfied with this but it is a beginning.
PARA, APRO and RPEA have continued to work diligently to get a full
COLA, not a 50% COLA and we want it for the full amount of the pension.
This is a long term commitment that will require perseverance,
coordination and good timing as we face significant obstacles.
Besides COLA issues PARA has been
working on bringing retirees together via a greatly expanded and more
professional semi-annual Newsletter with photographs, news items and
other articles of interest to Port Authority Retirees. PARA has
established a "PARA WEBSITE" that contains links to many other
established websites including, but not limited to: the PANYNJ, NYS
Retirement System, Social Security System, United Health Care,
ExpressScripts, etc. etc... The PARA website also has other
informative and interesting features such as "Retirement Flyers" and "PA
News". The website will continue to be expanded in the future your
suggestions are welcomed.
The modest annual dues of $10.00 helps retirees to keep apprised of what
is going on that may affect them.