The Benefits Committee was created primarily in response to the unilateral action taken by the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) effective July 2005 in regard to significant changes that were made to retiree healthcare plans in violation of contractual agreements made by the District.
In April of 2005, the Retirees’ Association retained the services of attorney Robert Bezemek from Oakland to assist the association in preparing a legal challenge to this unilateral and unprecedented action taken by the District.
On June 6, 2006, Martin Fassler, an associate of Robert Bezemek, filed a claim letter with the District through the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees of the VCCCD. Since then, an amended claim letter was sent to the District on July 18, 2006 including additional claimants and additional information.
On August 17, Keenan and Associates sent a letter to the Retirees’ Association denying the claim. A letter from our attorney Martin Fassler explained that this letter was not unexpected, but does establish a February 17 deadline for the association to file a lawsuit against the District.
On September 25, representatives of the Retirees’ Association, attorney Martin Fassler, Gary Johnson, Barbara Hoffman, Bob Long, Bob Lopez, Dave Thomas and Rene Rodriguez, met with representatives of the District, attorney Josh Morrison and Patricia Parham, for the first time to discuss the health benefit issue. Both parties agreed to meet again with each requesting additional information from the other.
In late September, the Benefits Committee sent a letter to the general membership including a form urging members to make additional contributions to the legal fund in the event that it became necessary to prepare a lawsuit against the District.
On November 15, the same representatives from each organization met and concluded the meeting with an agreement that the Retirees’ Association would make a settlement proposal to the District within the next few weeks for discussion at their next meeting.
At the December 12 Board of Trustee meeting, Gary Johnson made a presentation to the Board before their closed session meeting where he distributed a statement which describes the Retirees’ Association views on principal issues, provisions that the Retirees’ Association wish to include in any settlement, several concessions that the Retirees’ Association would be willing to make as part of a comprehensive settlement, and references to several issues regarding insurance that have not yet been discussed by the parties.
(For subsequent developments, see the “What’s New” web page)
Members of the Benefits Committee:
Stan Bowers, Barbara Hoffman, Gary Johnson (chair), Vivian Lockard, Bob Long, Bob Lopez, Don Medley, Gary Morgan, Gil Ramirez, Rene Rodriguez, Dave Thomas, Manny Turse, John Woolley