Message from the executive director

September 12, 2023

Staying connected, staying informedERS Executive Director Porter Wilson

This time of year, at the start of a new fiscal year and between Summer and Fall Enrollment, I often think about ERS’ relationships with its members and retirees, and the many ways we foster those relationships. As some of you might know, ERS’ mission is “to offer competitive benefits to enhance the lives of our members.” I strongly believe to positively affect people’s lives you have to do more than just make resources available. You also have to communicate and educate about those resources, especially when they’re as important as benefits like retirement income and health insurance.

Did you know ERS has a dedicated team of 10 employees who work on this newsletter, many other publications and the ERS website? This is in addition to the many ERS employees who answer your calls and emails and visit with members at our offices every weekday, and support all of your other benefits needs behind the scenes. In fact, we hire and train staff to support your needs throughout the year, and members have seen great improvement in how efficiently they are able to reach a counselor. And you might know we have a small team of benefits educators who conduct presentations in person across the state, as well as through online webinars. We do all this to help you use ERS benefits to your best advantage, to truly enhance your life. We also want to understand if we’re meeting your needs as well as we can.

Every year, we mail enrollment packets to all our retirees, providing you with ample information about your benefits options. We also conduct enrollment webinars and fairs throughout the state, which offer you the chance to talk directly with ERS and the administrators of our plans. These are the best opportunities to both share information and hear from you. I encourage you to attend a Fall Enrollment fair or Staying Connected fair if there’s one near you. While we can’t reach every part of the state for our in-person fairs, we try to be in major cities and regions. If you can’t make it to a fair, you always have the option to attend an informative webinar.

As I write this, we’re still planning our fall events. The Fall Enrollment fair and webinar schedule will be in the Fall Enrollment packets we mail to all Medicare-eligible retirees in mid-October. We’ll send information about Staying Connected fairs to all retirees who live in nearby areas. We hope you can attend! This year, I’ll be attending a few enrollment fairs combined with our biennial Staying Connected events in major cities, and I look forward to seeing you there if you can make it.

Welcome to Stuart Greenfield, our new trustee

Stuart Greenfield smiling in front of the United States and Texas flags

As you may have heard, there’s a new trustee on the ERS Board. Stuart Greenfield, Ph.D., who retired from the State Comptroller’s Office, was elected this spring. He’s the first retiree ever to be elected to the Board, after the law was changed in 2021 to allow retirees to run. You can learn more about Dr. Greenfield and the election on the ERS Board of Trustees Election and Appointment page. Retirees had the highest turnout in the election, although overall participation was low. If you voted, thank you! If not, your next chance to cast a ballot for one of your trustees will be in 2025.

Have a wonderful fall! I know I’m looking forward to cooler weather, and to seeing you at one of our Staying Connected events in November!

Porter Wilson