Open Enrollment

Updated SCREA Calendar 2020

Below is the 2020 calendar for the SCREA Board of Directors.

Click Below to View/Download Our 2020 Calendar:

Please note the SCREA Board meets the first Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. Members are welcome to attend these meetings.

Sacramento County Dedication Ceremony Honoring Kiyoshi “Pat” Adachi, SCREA’s Past President

By Martha J. Hoover

This past May 12th, 2017, a year after our beloved SCREA President Kiyoshi “Pat” Adachi unexpectedly past away, the County of Sacramento, Department of Transportation, honored him with a ceremony dedicating the Antelope Road Railroad Overcrossing in his memory.  Several of Pat’s current and retired co-workers attended the ceremony along with two of his nieces and their husbands, and his many retiree friends from SCREA.

This Dedication is especially significant due to the fact that it is the first time a Road Structure is named after a County Employee/Retiree.  Pat was known to be an excellent engineer and was the Department’s expert on bridge design.

As our SCREA Secretary, Linda Kimura recently stated, “The ceremony was a very proud moment for SCREA and all of those in attendance.  All the words spoken gave high praise to Kiyoshi for his dedicated career with Sacramento County.  His involvement in many engineering projects were too many to mention, but this overcrossing/bridge on Antelope Road was a project he designed himself and is used by several thousand travelers each day.  It crosses over several railroad tracks and connects the Antelope Neighborhood to Foothill Farms and Citrus Heights.”

Mike Penrose, Deputy County Executive, presided over the dedication ceremony event.  As Mike stated in his opening remarks “We are here to dedicate the bridge, but to also celebrate the career and life of Pat Adachi, who was a well-respected engineer for the County of Sacramento, Department of Transportation.”  When Pat worked for the County the Department was known as the Department of Highways and Bridges.

In 1992, Pat Adachi retired as a Senior Civil Engineer after working 37 years for the County.  He began working for the County on December 12th, 1955. As Mike Penrose stated, “As an engineer myself, I can tell you that’s about as long and distinguished as a career can get.”

In April of 1990, Pat approved the Final Plans for this Antelope Road Railroad Overcrossing.  He was head of this bridge structure project from its conception to its final completion in 1990.

Out of respect for Pat, Mike Penrose provided the following detailed information using engineering terminology.  “The Bridge structure is 379 feet long and is 86 feet wide – accommodating six traffic lanes.  The structure is made of a continuous three reinforced concrete column bents and two reinforced concrete seat abutments with integral wingwalls, founded on CIDH piles.”  I had to perform an Internet search to find out what CIDH meant – “Cast-in-drilled-holes” it’s when a borehole is drilled into the ground and then concrete (and some sort of reinforcing) is placed into the borehole to form the pile.

On our SCREA Website, www.saccountyretirees.com you will find photos taken of the dedication ceremony along with a photo of the installed KIYOSHI “PAT” ADACHI Memorial Signs which are installed on the east-bound and west-bound sections of the Bridge.  In addition, a copy of the Final Bridge Plan with Pat’s signature on it, is on the SCREA Website.

I never worked with Kiyoshi until I retired from Sacramento County.  To me he was a kind and gentle man.  He always cared more for others than for himself.  It was a privilege to have known him for the nine years I served with him on the SCREA Board.  He treated current County employees and retirees as his family.  His presence in this world is sorely missed by one and all who knew him.

 

Kiyoshi “Pat” Adachi Memorial Fund

At its June 6, 2016 meeting, the Board also established the “Adachi Memorial Fund” to honor our great President of so many years.  In remembrance of Pat, a $50 bill will be given as the final raffle prize at each of SCREA’s events until the funds have been depleted.

If you wish to contribute to the memorial fund, please send your check payable to SCREA with the notation of “Adachi Memorial Fund” in the memo line, and mail to P.O. Box 573, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

Thank you for the donations!  See you at the picnic!

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SCREA Board President Kiyoshi Adachi Passes Away at 89

“A Final Visit”

By Mike DeBord

kiyoshi-SCREA
Kiyoshi conducted the SCREA Board of Directors meeting on May 2, 2016 in his typical friendly manner.  At the end of the meeting he commented about feeling exhausted over the last couple of weeks.  Three days later, he went to the doctor and was then taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  He died on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at the hospital around 5:30 p.m.

While at the hospital, Kiyoshi received medical reports about his condition and he made the decision to stop the intravenous medications.  He said he wanted no flowers, no candy, and no visits; he wanted his friends to remember him as he was prior to becoming ill.  Those restrictions were hard for all of us who loved and admired him as we wanted to do something to demonstrate how we felt.

I talked to him by phone a couple of times and on Friday, May 13th I said that I would really like to visit him, even if it was just to sit with him.  He said “Let’s do it” and told me to set it up with his niece Tracy.   I was at his room around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and Kiyoshi was in good spirits and as always, he has a way of making people feel comfortable and welcome.  I had the opportunity, and used it, to let him know that I was there on behalf of all of the County retirees and SCREA Board Members to tell him how much we all loved him.  In typical Kiyoshi style, he returned those comments by saying how much he loved all of the retirees and that they were really good people.  (You always got more back from Kiyoshi than you gave.)

The nurses and his doctor were coming and going throughout the visit and Kiyoshi took the opportunity to introduce me to each of them and complimented them on the good care they were providing him.  At one point when I tried to step out of the room while they were doing their jobs, he asked me to stay with him which of course I did.

We talked over the next hour or so about many things, and I was trying not to let him say too much as his breathing was difficult.  He was open about dying and death, and we had a good conversation about it.  He was grateful that he was going to be able to die at the hospital without being moved to another place.

Kiyoshi had a visit with his brother the day before and another family member was planning to visit in early afternoon after my visit.  My time with Kiyoshi had gone by so quickly.  Before leaving, I told his primary nurse about Kiyoshi and how all the County retirees admired him as our long-term Association President, now at age 89.  She said that her parents had worked for Sacramento County and I asked her who they were.  Kiyoshi and I both knew her parents and the conversation then moved from patient/caretaker to a more personal level that we all enjoyed.  It was such a good way to end the visit and I said that we really have a great County family.  Kiyoshi had given me a couple of messages to communicate to his friends and he said he would write some more and give them to me on our next visit.  He then took my hand as we said goodbye he told me to tell my wife Kathie (who had also wanted to be there) how much he loved her too.

A few hours later, Kiyoshi’s niece Tracy called and said that Kiyoshi had passed away.  She said he talked about how much he enjoyed the visit and about the County connection to his nurse.  Tracy said that at the end, Kiyoshi told her that he was “ready to go” and then he died.

Sharing this story is important because even at the very end of his long life, Kiyoshi was exactly the same caring and wonderful person that we all got to know and love.

2016 General Membership Meeting

SACRAMENTO COUNTY RETIRED EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION
2016 GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2016
1:15 PM*

DOUBLETREE HOTEL
2001 Point West Way
Sacramento, CA  95815

Agenda
1.    Board of Directors Election
2.    Revised Bylaws Approval
3.    Dues Reduction effective July 1, 2016
4.    Open Positions on the Board of Directors

*The General Membership Meeting will convene during an intermission at the SCREA June Luncheon at 1:15 PM.  Members who only want to attend the General Membership Meeting, are encouraged to arrive by 1:15 PM. There is no cost to attend the General Membership meeting.  Luncheon costs and details can be found on the back page of this issue of NEWS BRIEFS.

New State-wide Initiative is an All Out Attack on Public Pensions!

New State-wide Initiative is an All Out Attack on Public Pensions!

By Mike DeBord

The new State-wide “initiative” (that will soon be circulating around the State gathering petition signatures) will try and close every single State and local government defined benefit retirement plan to new employees! The initiative, titled “Public Employees. Pension and Retiree Healthcare Benefits” would apply to all cities and counties, school districts, special districts, boards, commissions, universities and State government. If the proponents of this initiative get sufficient signatures, it will be on the November 8, 2016 General Election ballot as an amendment to the State Constitution.

The proponents of this initiative submitted their proposal to the State Attorney General who is responsible for writing the “Title and Summary” for all initiatives submitted. The Attorney General says in their Summary of this initiative, that the proposal would

  • eliminate Constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current employees, including those working in K-12 schools, higher education, hospitals, and police protection, for future work performed.
  • add initiative and referendum powers to the Constitution (so voters could be responsible) for determining public employee compensation and retirement benefits.
  • would bar government employers from enrolling new employees in “defined benefit” plans, or paying more than one-half cost of new employee’s retirement benefits, or enhancing retirement benefits, unless specifically approved by the voters.

This initiative would require thousands of new ballot measures at taxpayer cost and close defined benefit retirement plans to new employees even though they have the lowest fees and highest investment returns compared to other types of plans such as 401(k)’s.

This Initiative is the most serious threat to public pensions ever put forth in California! It creates very burdensome and expensive barriers for local government to continue pensions for their new employees. It also affects existing workers and can affect current retirees as existing retirement plans are closed to new employees.

We need your help to try and defeat this initiative which would undermine all public sector workers, including teachers, nurses, police and firefighters. Please don’t be fooled by the proponents, and their deep pocket supporters, who use the media very effectively to put out their propaganda. Tell your family and friends not to sign the petition for this destructive Initiative!

We will be providing future updates and additional information. Thank You For Your Help!

“Public Pensions Should Not Follow Private Sector Failures!”

By Mike DeBord, Co-Chair CRCEA Retirement Security Committee

How should California’s government retirement plans be funded? Most are designed to be “fully pre-funded”, but what about “pay-as-you-go” or “partially pre-funded”? The challenges facing future retirees and the taxpayer are described in the various approaches listed below.

Social Security is largely a “pay-as-you-go” program where current workers pay the annual cost of retiree benefits. Any year’s excess income goes into a Trust Fund. But when the cost of the monthly benefits exceeds the income from payroll taxes, the Trust Fund is drawn down to keep the checks going. Social Security reports that the Trust Fund will be fully exhausted by 2034 and without changes would only be able pay 77% of scheduled benefits. With the increase of retirees and fewer American workers in the future, this program faces real funding problems!

Private Sector workers have, over the last 30 years, been losing their defined benefit plans. Companies discontinued their pension plans and some, not all, replaced them with 401(k) plans that were never designed to be a retirement plan. This scheme is woefully underfunded and 58% of private sector workers now have no retirement savings. This “partially pre-funded” approach is a time bomb for future generations and will significantly increase poverty for retirees. It will have severe repercussions for state and local governments that are responsible for providing services to the elderly who won’t be able to support themselves. The taxpayer impact of these short-sighted retirement changes/losses in the private sector will be huge!

Public Sector workers still have defined benefit pensions that are designed to pay lifetime retirement benefits and be “fully pre-funded” (about 70% from investment returns with the remainder from employer and employee contributions). After the 2007-08 financial crisis, the funding levels of defined benefit plans dropped noticeably but are now improving with the economic recovery. But outspoken pension critics jumped on the projected “unfunded liability” of public pensions saying they could total up to $2-$4 trillion nation-wide (using low return rate assumptions in their projections instead of the actual higher rates of public pension systems). They use this “unfunded liability” figure to persuade the public to vote against public pensions.

But the real question is “What is the “equivalent unfunded liability” for the private sector?” What would it take for the private sector to be on par with the public sector with respect to retirement assets? That shortfall is at least $29 trillion—a true U.S. crisis in the making!

So tell me again why we need to change our pre-funded public retirement systems to be more like the staggering failures in the private sector???

 

U.S. Ranks 19th On Retirement Security; California Is Even Worse Off Than The Nation

U.S. Ranks 19th On Retirement Security

California Is Even Worse Off Than The Nation

By Mike DeBord, Co-Chair, CRCEA Retirement Security Committee

First the bad news! According to Natixis Global Asset Management, the U.S. barely ranks in the top 20 countries in terms of overall “Retirement Security”. America has held the lowly 19th rank for 3 straight years, just above Slovenia and behind the United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Canada, Iceland and many northern European countries.

In their study, “Quality of Life”, largely measuring well-being of individuals, the U.S. doesn’t even make it to the top 30. Income inequality is a big factor in the Natixis measure of well-being, and John Hailer, President and CEO of Natixis said “that is what sank the U.S.

Now the even more distressing news! The U.C. Berkeley Labor Center, in their research, found that access to workplace retirement plans in California’s private sector is inadequate and declining. Their 3 year study found that only 45% of private sector workers age 25-64 in California work for an employer that even sponsors a retirement plan—much less than the U.S. average of 53%. And within California, only 37% of private sector workers actually participate in their employer-sponsored retirement plan. California also has the nation’s highest poverty rate in the Country at nearly 25%. So clearly, California (the 5th largest economy in the world) is not doing better than the nation on these important issues.

In California, there has been a downward trend in workplace retirement coverage since 1998-2000 when 50% of private sector workers had access. More specifically, access is the worst among low-wage workers who work for firms with less than 100 employees. More than 6.3 million California private sector workers currently do not have access to employer sponsored plans including a disproportionate percentage (64%) of these workers being people of color.

It’s been a generation now since the shift from traditional pensions (defined benefit plans) to mostly self-funded 401(k) savings plans (defined contribution plans) and fewer workers than ever are setting aside what they need for their retirement. Employers aren’t contributing enough to the plans and employees aren’t saving enough (50% of American workers aren’t saving anything for their old age).

Many workers that have undersaved for retirement use the excuse that they’ll work forever. That’s not realistic and not always up to them, said Greg McBride, senior vice president at Bankrate.com. “That’s the point where it can reach a crisis at the household level.” With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, the U.S. retirement crisis is here and growing rapidly. Sadly, each generation is now projected to retire poorer than the last.

Even with all these facts, “pension reformers” continue their efforts to destroy all remaining public defined benefit plans and the retirement security they provide. If they are successful, the race to the bottom will be realized. America needs to change course and we need to be involved in that change!