City Adopts COLA Increase for Retirees

It’s been 22 years since the city Retirement Board gave a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to its members. Monday night the council voted in favor of adjusting the base. The mayor still has to give final approval.

“It’s long overdue for retirees,” said James Carmello, a former member of the Retirement Board

The COLA is based on the first $12,000 of a retirement pension (the lowest in the state), now that benefit will increase by $1,000 to $13,000.

Carmello said in 2013, the Retirement Board agreed on a motion to increase the COLA to $16,000. That was amended to go in steps of $1,000 for three years and max out at $15,000.

“Which is more in line with the state average,”Carmello said.

But since the request came to the council in the last meeting of 2013 it was never moved forward, falling by the wayside with other motions not acted on that year. To be moved forward the approval of the Retirement Board, City Council and the Mayor was needed.

John Henry, former city clerk and chairman of the Revere Retirement Board, said the base is what COLA adjustments are based upon. The board gives out a three percent COLA on the base, which amounts to $360. With the new proposal retirees would get $390 a year.

“We spoke to the mayor about this and he agrees with the increase,” Henry said. He noted that state law requires the City Council and the mayor to sign off on it.

There are 102 retirement systems in the Commonwealth, Henry said.

There are currently 504 retirees in the system, and 403 of them will be eligible for the COLA benefit.

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