Terri Laird

RPEN Executive Director

Headquartered in Carson City, RPEN has over 8 thousands members statewide, mostly retirees, with a thousand or so who are still working. Our mission has never changed in 40+ years/ We work to protect the pensions and healthcare benefits earned by public employees during their working career. Much has been reported about an unfunded liability at the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), however according to PERS that number only comes into play if every public employee working in the state today were to retire on the exact same day.

With the 80th session of the Nevada State Legislature around the corner, you’ll be hearing more about the unfunded liability, and how the state needs to move from a “defined benefit” pension system to a 401K/Hybrid plan. But what is never considered by the group that seeks that change, the Nevada Policy Research Institute/NPRI, is that the state would then be operating not one, but two pension plans. Plus if new employees hired by the state are paid on a different system, they aren’t contributing to the current system (as is the case now) and that could essentially collapse the existing DB plan hat all current workers and existing retired public employees are currently paid on.

But RPEN thinks you should know that state, county and local government workers and retirees don’t just take, they give as much as they receive. A perfect example would be RPEN’s recent donation of over $3 thousand worth of donated goods on a wish list along with cash and gift cards, going to the Veterans Guest House in Reno. The donation came during RPEN’s September Convention held at the Nugget in Sparks and hosted by our Sparks and Washoe Chapters. Nearly 100 members and guests were there. But coverage of the event no one replied. As a former broadcast journalist with 18 years combined experience in several states including California and Nevada. I know that in the world we live in today, “if it bleeds, it leads”, meaning good news isn’t as important as bad news. Media outlets only seem interested in controversy, and making public employees into the “bad” guys for working hard, earning a pension, and enjoying their retirement.

No, these are the folks that work to keep Nevada government, schools and universities running. They earned their retirement, but like you, and like you, they are taxpayers too. They support the communities they live and RPEN would like to recognize these hard working individuals, and we will be at the next Legislative Session fighting to protect those pensions they earned.