True or false? If you belong to the retirement plan, all your retirement planning is taken care of.

This June's UCRS board election is an opportunity to peer into that black box most of us never glance at: "The Retirement Plan."

Somewhere in that dark interior, your own nest egg incubates: Will the golden hatchling you were expecting burst forth on your 50th or 60th birthday? What if you're disabled or die before you retire: how much of your pension will your family get? How does Social Security fit in? What retirement income and insurance options will you have?

Must you save on the side, too, to escape the poorhouse? Are our retirement benefits as reasonably and fairly apportioned as they might be amongst all employees? In all situations? How secure are those benefits? By what measure? How many VERIPs, TRIPs, CAPs and special packages can we afford? These are the kinds of questions the UCRS Board ponders.

As full-time personnel/benefits watchdog for the campus library system, I've carried the banner for a decade through the "rift zone," where core benefits decisions well to the surface of our lives.

I've spoken up on innumerable occasions when policies, regulations, procedures and personal choices undercut or crossed each other. And I've struggled to help employees understand benefit options. As a candidate for the UCRS board, I'd hope to continue speaking up--far closer to the regents' ears. Let the record speak for me, meantime. Whomever you vote for this month, prepare yourself, now.

Mark Livingston


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