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Alaskans should go to court to restore longevity bonuses

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2003

To my recollection, this is the first time that I can recall that Gov. Murkowski has kept his word. He said that he was gonna eliminate the Longevity Bonus Program, and by golly he's gonna keep his word in spite of the fact that the Legislature and the people of Alaska think that he is dead wrong in doing so.

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the governor is suffering from some serious malady. Not being a medical person, but from my own personal observations, he's gotta be not only "deaf and dumb" but blind too. Can anyone explain to me why the first letter I received explaining his intentions was nearly a replica of the current letter proclaiming his decision?

The hundreds of letters and hours of teleconference pleading made not one iota of difference. It seems that this is a governor who has tired of gloating over the body count of the obituaries to see just how much the state was saving on longevity bonuses and decided to expedite the matter.

The Longevity Bonus Program, established in 1972, was set up as a pension and not as a welfare program! To change the purpose of the program from pension to welfare is a breach of promise and the state should be held accountable in the court of law. This pension is just as valid as our Social Security program and funds are reserved for this explicit purpose. To steal the funds from this obligation should be a jailable offense.

The Alaska Supreme Court ruling to change the eligibility requirements did not negate the purpose of the original contract to provide a pension. This pension must be paid until the last eligible recipient dies. We have danced through all the legislative hoops, step by step. We have argued and pleaded. We have reasoned and planned. The AARP and the Pioneers of Alaska, our representative giants, even stooped to compromise. But to no avail!

His lowness, Murk the Jerk, repeated his proclamation to end once and for all the Longevity Bonus Program in the name of fairness. Let's go to court!

Evan Cundiff, Homer



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