Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 5, 2013

May 5, 2013: Letters to the editor

All at IU Kokomo deserve recognition

This week, nearly 550 Indiana University Kokomo students will reach a milestone they will treasure for a lifetime when they become IU Kokomo’s newest graduates. Commencement is a joyous time for our students, their families and friends as well as the faculty and staff who work tirelessly to provide a first-rate educational experience for all our students.

It also is a good time to reflect on the academic year just completed, and it certainly has been an eventful year on the IU Kokomo campus. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the entire IU Kokomo community for everything it has done to maintain the positive momentum on campus and to remain focused on its most important priority: the educational attainment of our students.

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke deserves specific praise for the remarkable job she has done of maintaining momentum through a time of transition on campus. I asked her to take the helm on extremely short notice last September and she has been steadfast in her commitment to the campus and community in this new role, as she has been throughout her long career on the campus.

Taking a leadership role on such short notice presents its challenges and Sue was equal to them. She quickly went to work — with the outstanding support of faculty colleagues and a strong leadership team — on the important business facing the campus and community, including curriculum reform, expansion of online offerings, and regional economic development. The new city-university partnership to repurpose the downtown gymnasium for Cougar basketball is just one example of IU Kokomo’s continued commitment to community engagement.

I also was extremely pleased to see that, in addition to her outstanding administrative work, Sue’s academic and research efforts were rewarded this year with a promotion to full professor. That promotion came after a rigorous review process that involved a thorough examination of her scholarship, teaching, and service by reviewers from both IU Kokomo and other IU campuses, and stands as a testament to Sue’s body of work as an academic.

At graduation time, we focus on the wonderful accomplishments of our students — and that is as it should be. However, this year we should also take a moment to recognize the accomplishments of faculty, staff, students, and campus leadership who seek excellence every day. Their commitment to the campus, the university and the Kokomo region is a source of pride for all of us at Indiana University.

Michael A. McRobbie

IU president

Delphi retirees get robbed by gov’t

Last week, I got a letter from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), a U.S. government agency, informing me of a change in my retirement benefit. I will continue to receive the same total benefit amount; however, $419.73 monthly will come from my own savings!

Somehow, the PBGC just learned that Delphi employees contributed some of their own money into their retirement accounts. They discovered that our money went into an annuity fund at Prudential Insurance Co. of America, and Prudential will start disbursing our annuities on June 1. That could be good — but, no, the PBGC retirement will be reduced, so that we will not see any benefit from our individual contribution!

A quote from the letter: “Your pension plan used your contributions to purchase an annuity for you from an insurance company. This purchased annuity will now be paid by Prudential.”

Those contributions were voluntary, but most folks participated and put that money away for their own savings. Now I learn that all the money I put in during my 38½ years of employment does not benefit me or my family at all. It only benefits the U.S. government; I should get credit for that on my taxes!

The PBGC will send me less retirement money because I will receive my own savings! How can this be? Who gets to decide? Why is the PBGC involved in my own savings? I’m sure it thinks most of us “old folk” won’t understand and won’t complain. After all, we will get the same monthly amount; it will just come in two checks instead of one.

Clearly it is a money-grab by the federal government. (It needs it because it didn’t save like I did!) Is this how our government treats hard-working, loyal people who stay with their company, contribute to their retirement, pay their taxes, serve their community, their church, and their country with honesty, pride and dignity?

James L. Davis