The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


May 13, 2013

Readers' Forum 5-13 | Union members upheld their end of pacts

— I have followed with interest the articles relating to pension reform. As a state employee, I have a considerable stake in the outcome of the multiple proposals being discussed. However, I would like to point out one thing that seems to have been overlooked: Yes, the unfunded liability for SERS and PSERS currently is approximately $41 billion to $47 billion, but would it be this large of an amount if former Gov. Ed Rendell had not neglected to make any state contributions to the pension plans for his eight years in office?

Eight years of passing the buck has caught up to the current administration.

Current proposed resolutions are to punish workers who did nothing wrong. Our contributions were/are automatically deducted. If state leaders felt their contributions were too high, they should not have signed the contracts in 2000, 2003 and 2007.

They signed the contracts, agreed to the terms, then failed to make the payments. Now that they’re in debt, they want to reduce the workers’ benefit.

I ask you, is this right?

Mark Sauro


St. Paul’s UCC on ‘Mission 4/1 Earth’

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Ohio Street in Johnstown, will be planting trees on May 19. Participation in United Church of Christ’s national “Mission 4/1 Earth” campaign means planting 100,000 trees locally and globally, sending out 100,000 letters of environmental advocacy to our elected officials and local media, and contributing one million hours of earth care, including cleanup, advocacy and education.

St. Paul’s UCC will be planting a pear tree on Ohio Street after morning worship and then traveling to the UCC’s Camp Living Waters in Schellsburg, Bedford County, to plant an Oak tree in the camp meadow.

Members of St. Paul’s have already written many letters to their congressional representatives urging strong legislation to curb climate change; limit fossil fuel subsidies; develop alternative, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal; protect soil and water resources; and encourage energy-efficiency rebates and tax incentives for residential and commercial buildings.

Members of St Paul’s believe, with the rest of the United Church of Christ, that caring for God’s creations is a moral responsibility, and so is participating in actions intended to promote the resurrection of God’s wounded creations by “Greening Up, Powering Down and Shouting Out” for our beautiful earth home.  

Rev. William C. Thwing

Pastor, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ


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