Here’s What Happened…
2018 RPEN ANNUAL CONVENTION CELEBRATES THE VETERANS GUEST HOUSE OF RENO WITH CHAPTER AND INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS TO THE GUEST HOUSE TOTALING OVER $3,000.00!!!
The 2018 Convention, as it is now to be called following a bylaws change approved during the September 18-21 gathering, was co-hosted by our Sparks and Washoe Chapters at the Nugget in Sparks. A theme for our annual conventions was hatched this year to recognize a charitable organization within the community of the host chapters.
“RPEN Gives Back” recognized the Veterans’ Guest House this year and a new charity will be selected in 2019 when the annual convention moves to Henderson. Since early this year the Sparks and Washoe Chapters have been collecting donations and before the convention many of our 18 other chapters statewide were participating as well. In addition to over $1,000 of much needed supplies and food items were collected as well as nearly $2,000 in cash and gift cards to such places as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Costco. Public employees have recently taken a lot of criticism from groups like the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) who target public employees for having “extravagant” retirement pensions when in fact the average pension is around $2,800/month and only 1-3% of all existing retired public employees earn a six figure retirement income. There are also a number of older retirees who earn far less than the “average” amount as they retired when annual wages were also much lower than they are today. It needs to be said that public employees are taxpayers too, and they spend their money in the communities in which they live, thus giving back to their communities. This “RPEN Gives Back” simply takes that theme one step further.
Veterans Guest House CEO Noreen Leary accepted our donations Friday, September 21 at the conclusion of the convention, saying she was “blown away” by the offerings.
In other action during the annual get-together, nearly 100 members and guests heard from Northern Nevada Lawmakers, Majority Floor Leader for the Assembly Teresa Benitez-Thompson, District 25 Assemblywoman Jill Tolles, District 31 Assemblyman Skip Daly and former District 37 Assemblyman and past RPEN State President Glenn Trowbridge during our traditional “Legislative Panel” discussion on what’s ahead for the 80th Session of the Nevada State Legislature.
Moderated by our Legislative Advocate/Lead Lobbyist Marlene Lockard, questions put to the panel included issues among RPEN’s Legislative Agenda. At the top of our agenda is protection of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and Public Employees’ Benefits Program (PEBP).
There were also several workshops geared toward public employee issues including Barbara Duckett, a Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security office in Nevada, who talked about the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) and GPO (Government Pension Offset) programs that impact many public employees since the state is among 14 others that do not pay into Social Security.
Our annual convention also highlights Pat Fladager Special Recognition award winners as well as another Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Only two honorees were in attendance to collect their awards, including Carmen Goicoechea from Northern Tri-County and Sue McMahill from Two Rivers. The remaining awards will be presented at a future date and will remain nameless until then.
A new Executive Committee was also named and includes the following: State President Bernard Paolini of Boulder City, who is beginning the 2nd year of a two year term; State Vice-President Vicki Cameron (Henderson); State Secretary Paula Petruso (Henderson); State Treasurer Rita Evasovic (Bi-Valley) and fellow Committee Members Paul Brooks (Las Vegas), Therese Campbell (Las Vegas), Perralina Palm (Washoe), Elaine Steiner (Washoe), and Linda Hoxsie (Carson). They will come together for their first Executive Committee meeting of the new fiscal year January 22-23 to be held at State Headquarters in Carson City.