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TVA Tightens Grip on TVARS Prior to Court Hearing

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has scheduled to hear oral arguments regarding the TVARS case on January 31, 2018. See notice here. TVA has recently further tightened its grip on TVARS:
On October 30, 2017, the three TVA-appointed and the one lame duck elected board directors extended the term of retiree director Allen Stokes for up to a year past the expiration of his current term which ends on October 31, 2018. See meeting transcript here.On November 6, 2017, the three TVA-appointed and the one retiree board directors boycott a meeting to discuss and vote on a proposed amendment to provide for the election of the retiree director by retirees.On December 4, 2017, with a majority of the TVARS Board controlled by the three TVA-appointed and the retiree directors, the TVARS Board chose two TVA-appointed directors to assume the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman. This is the first time I can remember a TVA-appointed director holding the position of Chairman. …
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TVARS Approves 2018 COLAs and Interest Rates

Retiree COLAs: 1.84% for original, cash balance, and supplemental pension benefits based on 2.09% CPI increase less 0.25%.

Current Employee Interest Rates:

6.0% on Cash Balance accounts for those hired before January 1, 1996 based on 6.0% minimum.4.75% on Cash Balance accounts for those hired on or after January 1, 1996 based on minimum of assumed investment return of 6.75% less 2.0%.4.75% on fixed annuity accounts based on minimum of assumed investment return of 6.75% less 2.0%.
These were approved this afternoon at the December 4, 2017 quarterly TVARS Board Meeting.

TVARS Lawsuit Oral Arguments - January 31, 2018

The Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings law firm continues to fight on behalf of TVA employees and retirees against TVA and TVARS. Oral arguments have been scheduled for January 31, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Please see Notice of Oral Argument filed on November 27, 2017. The Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings law firm previously submitted documents to the court explaining that the Court should decide what the TVARS rules mean, that the 2009 TVARS amendments are invalid because the TVARS Board failed to give proper notice, and that the TVARS Board made unlawful debits from the excess COLA account for 2009-2013. Please see Appelant's Reply Brief filed on August 28, 2017 for details.

As I have from the beginning, I continue to side with TVA employees and retirees and believe that the 2009 amendments are invalid. Unfortunately, a majority of the TVARS Board continues to disagree with me. This illustrates just how long over due is the 2018 TVARS Accountability Improvement Plan which wa…

TVARS 2018 Accountability Improvement Plan

November 28, 2017
DeWitt Burleson, TVARA Valley Wide President TVARA Board Directors TVARA Chapter Officers
Dear Mr. Burleson, Directors, and Chapter Officers,
Few have recognized just how underfunded TVARS has become and that your TVARS benefits have already eroded. This was brought about by inadequate TVARS funding requests and TVA under-funding over the last 10 years. TVA planning does not fully recognize the need for adequate annual TVARS retirement funding. Without adequate funding requests and a TVA catch-up plan, we both fear and anticipate additional cuts. Most at risk are long term TVA employees and retirees who depend on a pension.
A TVARS Board Member’s job is to clearly represent funding needs and the benefits required for all members, not just a specific group. We are asking whether retirees support the priorities in this plan. Broadly stated these priorities fall into two groups, governance and funding. Current governance allowed the funding to fall to 53% without sounding an …

Stokes a No-Show at TVARS Meeting on Retiree Voting

On Monday November 6, a Special TVARS Board meeting was held to discuss and vote on a proposed rule amendment to improve TVARS governance and provide more accountability to TVA retirees.

Sam DeLay, Jim Hovious and I proposed an amendment which provides for election of the TVA retiree director (the 7th director) by all TVA retiree members of the system. It ensures that the 7th director seat will always be occupied by a TVA retiree. The 7th director is key to ensuring that the TVARS Board follows good governance practices and meets the needs of all TVARS constituents. Our proposed amendment also stipulates that the 7th director must be free of any financial ties or business relationships with TVA, with the exception of receiving a TVARS pension. The actual proposed amendment can be read here.

A roll-call of those in attendance was taken:
PRESENT:  Sam DeLay; Jim Hovious: Leonard MuzynABSENT:  Brian Child; Allen Stokes; Wilson Taylor; Tammy WilsonWe were unable to conduct business becaus…

Contacting Allen Stokes and Other TVARS Board Directors

Mr. Pat Brackett, TVARS Executive Secretary
865-632-8578
pdbrackett@tva.gov

I spoke with TVARS Executive Secretary Pat Brackett today and he said that TVA Retirees can contact Allen Stokes or other TVARS Board Directors through TVARS.

If you send an email, you may want to call for confirmation that your email was received and that it was delivered to the appropriate TVARS Director. It is likely that emails from outside TVA become trapped in spam filters.

TVARS Special Meeting Called for November 6 on Retiree Voting for 7th Director

Sam DeLay, Jim Hovious and I called for a Special Meeting to be held on November 6 to discuss and vote on amending the TVARS Rules to improve TVARS governance and provide more accountability to TVA retirees. We propose that the TVA retiree TVARS Board Director (the 7th director), currently selected by the other 6 directors, instead be elected by the entire retiree population commencing with the term beginning November 1, 2018. This is the term immediately following the expiration of Allen Stokes’ current term. We also propose to amend the rules to stipulate that the 7th director be free of any financial ties or business relationships with TVA, with the exception of receiving a TVARS pension.

These proposals would: ensure that the board always has a full complement of seven members, including a TVA retiree; andreduce the likelihood of a conflict of interest arising with the 7th Director.Four votes are required to approve our amendment. We hope that the current TVA retiree director and th…