Communication Resources for TEXPERS Members Regarding COVID-19
Virtual and Telephonic Open Meetings
UPDATE 3/16 - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today acted to maintain government transparency and continued government operations while reducing face-to-face contact for government open meetings. As Texas works to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Governor granted the Office of the Attorney General’s request for suspension of certain open-meeting statutes. This temporary suspension will allow for telephonic or videoconference meetings of governmental bodies that are accessible to the public in an effort to reduce in-person meetings that assemble large groups of people. In accordance with section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code, Abbott has suspended various provisions that require government officials and members of the public to be physically present at a specified meeting location.
This temporary suspension will leave important open-meeting protections in place:
- Members of the public will be entitled to participate and address the governmental body during any telephonic or videoconference meeting.
- To hold a telephonic or videoconference meeting, a governmental body must post a written notice that gives the public a way to participate remotely, such as a toll-free dial-in number, and that includes an electronic copy of any agenda packet that officials will consider at the meeting.
- A governmental body must provide the public with access to a recording of any telephonic or videoconference meeting.
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Pension Fund Communications regarding COVID-19
TEXPERS offers our members the following additional guidance regarding communications with your members.
- Reassure Your Pensioners About Payments
- Reassure your retired members that pension payments will be made on time, in full, as promised.
- Stress Your Long-term Investing Horizon.
- Assert your confidence in your portfolio’s structure as a long-term investment. Remind them that the pension fund’s investment committee always plans for and expects market downturns like what we are seeing.
- In addition, stress that your pension fund has a diversified structure and that even while stocks have retreated, other holdings, like bonds, have appreciated in value.
- You may consider adding that your bond holdings provide an additional source of liquidity, both for ensuring pension payments and possible reinvestment in other discounted investment assets.
3. Available Pension Fund Services
- Inform your members about your office and the availability of staff for any services which members might need.
- Ask your members to cooperate with precautions, like refraining from office visits if at all possible, especially if the member suspects they may have been in contact or in the vicinity of affected persons.
- Advise your members of phone numbers and email addresses at which they can contact benefits advisors.
- Use your website and Facebook pages as places where members can go for more information.